About the Author
Matthias Gerschwitz, born 1959, the youngest of six children, was raised in Solingen, a German town between Cologne and Düsseldorf. After his university graduation, he moved to Frankfurt and for seven years worked as product and promotion manager for a mid-sized manufacturer of household products. Subsequently, he went to work for an international fragrance and flavor company near Cologne. He has lived in Berlin since 1992 where he has been working as a marketing consultant. He started publishing books in 2007 Matthias Gerschwitz is gay, and he is HIV positive. The virus was detected in 1994, but likely transmitted in 1992. In 2009, he published a book about his life with the virus in Germany. The author is one of more than 80,000 HIV infected persons in Germany (as of October 2015) and one of the only a few to go public with his infection. The tone of the book corresponds with his personal way to handle his infected life: pro-actively, openly and with optimism. In 2009, Gerschwitz was named »Ambassador of World AIDS Day« for Germany. In 2010, his book was honored with the »Annemarie Madison Award«, a German award named after an early Californian AIDS activist. Also in 2010, he starred in a video »Living together positively – and safe« for the German government’s official AIDS education campaign. In November 2014, The Deutsche Welle, Germany's international TV broadcaster, produced a video for German, English, Spanish and Arab speaking countries about the author, his book and his infection. In February 2015, Gerschwitz published a sequel to his book dealing with the current social and health care situation of people infected with HIV in Germany. The book documents that HIV positive people are still subject to discrimination and criminalization. »Beyond the Virus« covers the author’s personal circumstances, experiences and insights. Some general information also found its way into »Beyond the Virus«, thus connecting the personal insight with interesting and relevant knowledge on how HIV is viewed in Germany today.