Congratulations, Joe Fryer!
On Friday, May 7, the NBC News correspondent won a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding TV journalism segment for his June 2021 reporting on the AIDS epidemic.
Produced by GLAAD — the national LGBTQ media advocacy organization — the annual awards ceremony seek to honor “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and the issues that affect their lives,” according to the organization.
Presented by Amber Tamblyn and Nyle DiMarco, Fryer accepted his award with the four gay men he profiled in his piece: Bruce Richman, Jesse Milan, Deondre B. Moore and Raif Derrazi.
"Above all, I am grateful for the four guys standing behind me, who so bravely, candidly, passionately told their stories," Fryer said in his speech.
The "Morning News Now" co-anchor also recognized producers Robert Powell and Lauren Specter, crediting Powell for being the one to brainstorm the initial idea.
Next, the four men took to the podium to share their gratitude.
"I was thrilled to join these gentlemen and tell our stories across the four decades of HIV and AIDS," Milan said. "And those stories include the 700,000 Americans who have died from this disease and the 1.2 million of us who are living with HIV."
"There are 35,000 new transmissions every year and most of them look like me, but I'm also aging with HIV. This year is my 40th year with HIV."
Milan concluded his speech by saying that there is still "a lot of work" that needs to be done to end the HIV epidemic.
After the ceremony, Fryer appeared on Saturday TODAY to talk about the night.
"It was totally great," he told Kristen Welker and Peter Alexander, adding that the award is "heavier" than you expect.
"But it was an incredible honor," Fryer raved. "And all four of those guys had a chance to speak and share their stories. It was such a beautiful evening. So inspiring. Just an honor."
Last year, Fryer spoke to Milan, Richman, Moore and Derrazi about their experiences living with HIV. In the segment, Richman said that it took him a while to start dating again because he was scared to pass on the disease to someone else.
"I didn't love," he said. "At times, I was depressed. I was suicidal."
However, everything changed for him once he realized that there was medication he could take to help him not transmit the virus.
"It gave me hope. It meant that I could be intimate. People with HIV can live healthy lives and not pass on the virus to anyone and that's a revolution," Richman said.
Derrazi added, "It blows my mind how far we've come and what's possible now."