New York Post (02.08.12) - Wednesday, February 15, 2012
While auditioning for seasons eight and nine of "American
Idol," Jamar Rogers of the Bronx worried that his HIV-positive
status would somehow come to light. "I remember being
completely petrified throughout the entire process that the
producers would find out," said the food bank volunteer. "I
just lived with this massive cloud over my head."
But when he recently auditioned for another singing show,
NBC's "The Voice," Rogers decided to share his condition with
nearly 20 million viewers. "As hard as I was trying to become
this superstar, I felt like I had this obligation to give back
to my community - to let people know that there is hope," he
Rogers said he became infected while living in Atlanta and
battling an addiction to crystal meth. "I had been using
pretty hardcore for about five years," he recalled. "I had
gotten down to 125 pounds."
Moving to Milwaukee, finding work, and joining a local church
helped put Rogers on a better life path. "I decided to come
clean because, at some point, you have to decide that you want
to live for something greater than yourself," he said, adding
that a young friend's overdose death last year motivated him
to speak publicly about his struggles. HIV "is manageable," he
said. "I have now been undetectable for five years. I don't
even get a cold. That is strictly by the grace of God."