I AM...

I am whatever YOU think I am until YOU get to KNOW me. This is true for everyone else too, of course.. so don't make assumptions about anyone or pass judgment; ask questions. You might just make a new friend.


Thursday, March 24, 2016


Whenever new statistics emerge about the impact of HIV on the lives of young black gay men (same-gender loving/men who sleep with men), we need to not only be careful about how we receive them, but how we use and share that information.
Black gay men have been hearing this for years; we know the odds are against us and we know it’s partially due to the behaviors we need to change, the conversations we need to have, and a pill we need to take. What we also know too well though are the systemic barriers that fuel the epidemic in our community and the social determinants that have us at a disadvantage.

It was reported that: 1 in 2 black gay men will be living with HIV by the age of 35. This projection about us is just a substantiation of what we’ve been seeing in our social circles, especially here in Charlotte and even more so in large cities like Atlanta, Washington, DC and New York City. It’s best for us not to perpetuate the fear and hopelessness these bleak statistics inspire. Instead, it is crucial to remain focused on addressing the barriers to our community winning this fight: cultural incompetence among medical providers, as well as a lack of adequate wraparound social services to retain young black men in care top that list. We also have to be intentional about encouraging and empowering young black men to show up to this fight in their strength.

Living this life, navigating the healthcare system with the compounded stigmas of our blackness, sexuality, and virus, is discouraging enough. Constant reassurance that we’re playing a losing game is clearly not an effective prevention tool and does not inspire us to overcome. It’s time we recognize that infographics are best used among HIV/AIDS service providers and CDC statisticians, not blasted on social media where they perpetuate stigma and fear of and among us.


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