Rory O Neill

Rory O’Neill

Rory O Neill, with stage names Panti or Pantibliss, is Ireland’s most renowned drag artist, and he has been living with HIV since 1995. Rory explains that back then when people were given a diagnosis of being HIV positive, it meant that there was a high possibility of it turning into full-blown Aids and would eventually lead to death.
He was started on the available drugs then, which entailed taking pills and other oral medications at regular times during the day. There were so many to take that it became a full-time job. Fortunately for Rory, he has been taking just one pill daily for the past ten years and getting on with his busy life.

Rory explained that he now has the same quality of life as any other person not living with HIV. He is now non-infectious and, therefore, cannot pass it on to someone else. He says that, psychologically, living with HIV has had a major effect on him. He felt he was tainted or could hurt somebody. When people hear the word AIDS, they cast their minds back to the 1990s. It creates fear and embarrassment and can prevent people from getting tested.
The only people who can die from HIV today are those who don’t know they have HIV and are not on treatment. People need to feel comfortable about going to be tested for HIV. Testing must be available and accessible to all, and nobody should be ashamed or embarrassed about it.
Rory is the successful owner of Pantibar and Penny Lane bar. He is also Gay Right’s Activist.