Nightsweats & T-Cells

in Businesses and Stores

Nightsweats & T-Cells logo.

Nightsweats & T-Cells, a “full-service screen printing shop owned and operated by persons living with [HIV and] AIDS, was founded in 1990. Named for the “extreme perspiration produced by HIV infection and the white blood cells that gauge the immune system’s health,” Nightsweats & T-Cells produces custom screen-printed T-shirts that advocate and raise awareness for (while combatting stigma against) those living with HIV and AIDS. Nightsweats & T-Cells was founded by Victor Brown (a graphic designer), Honey Lazar (a social worker), Michael Deighan (a professional screen printer), and Paul Monette (an author and poet) with the aim of putting “strong messages about AIDS on garments that people would wear.” Gil Kudrin, a longtime HIV/AIDS survivor and activist, joined Nightsweats early on and began working as the “public face” of the company. From its inception, Nightsweats & T-cells’ profits have been (and continue to be) used to pay for the salaries, expenses, and HIV/AIDS-related care of its employees living with HIV and AIDS. By providing “employment for those on the HIV spectrum who couldn’t work elsewhere,” Nightsweats & T-Cells has also operated as a “local solution to the limited employment opportunities that persons living with AIDS face.” In the words of one Nightsweats employee, “every T-shirt that was printed created an opportunity for us to maintain our dignity.” By providing employment without stigma, financial assistance, social support, and a sense of community, Nightsweats & T-Cells also worked to instill a “sense of purpose” and belonging in the lives of individuals living with HIV and AIDS.

Over the years, Nightsweats & T-Cells has produced as well as a variety of custom designs and its own line of T-shirts (many of which feature overt political messaging, including “All I want is the cure and my friends back,” “Be a voice, not an echo / Silence = Death,” and “A time comes when silence is betrayal“) intended to spark awareness and end stigma about HIV and AIDS. Initially, Nightsweats & T-Cells produced merchandise for a variety of “local LGBT orgnaizations, HIV service organizations…local Universities, and small businesses” throughout northeast Ohio. Seeking to expand Nightsweats’ reach outside of Ohio, Kudrin and other Nighsweats employees attended the 1992 AIDS Memorial Quilt Display in Washington D.C. with nearly 500 shirts for sale. Demand for Nightsweats’ T-shirts was so great that the company quickly sold out of its available merchandise before the event had ended. Following this event, Nightsweats & T-Cells quickly gained national recognition for its HIV/AIDS advocacy efforts and established a variety of partnerships with businesses and organizations nationwide. Nightsweats & T-Cells has since partnered with numerous national HIV/AIDS and LGBT+ events organizations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Nightsweats & T-Cells continues to produce T-shirts, apparel, and other forms of custom screen-printed merchandise.


Additional information coming soon.

Resources

  • “About Us.” Nightsweats & T-Cells.
  • Bigley II, James. “Survival Gear.” Cleveland Magazine. July 15, 2017.
  • Ford, Olivia G. “This Positive Life: A Trailblazer Still Marches Forward.” TheBody. December 12, 2012.
  • “Gil Kudrin Oral History.” Ohio History Connection. August 4, 2023.
  • Glassman, Anthony. “Hot Off the Press.” Gay People’s Chronicle. June 15, 2007. Page 1, 4.
  • Harper, Charlton. “An Image That’s 100% Positive.” Gay People’s Chronicle. March 11, 1994.
  • Nightsweats & T-Cells, Co. Facebook.
  • Pledger, Marcia. “Certified LGBT Firm Gets Boost in Business.” Cleveland.com. September 3, 2015.
  • Rubin, Nicole. “Love Is Love: Lin-Manuel Miranda Official Merch is in Solidarity With Orlando Victims.” Observer. June 17, 2016.
  • Sommers, Thom. “Employment: An Often Overlooked Treatment Option.” Gay People’s Chronicle. November 24, 1995. Page 7.
  • “”We are Activists, Artists and Survivors.” – Nightsweats and T-Cells.” Visual AIDS. June 16, 2014.
  • “Work as Treatment.” Gay People’s Chronicle. October 28, 1994. Page 10.
3694 E. 65th St., Cleveland, OH 44105 (Nightsweats & T-Cells).

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