Terrifying Study: In Some U.S. Cities, One in Two Black Gay Men Have HIV
Black, gay America (which is to say, America), we need to talk. Let’s all pull up a chair and check our outside voices at the door. You know what, scratch that. We’re a global village, all brothers and sisters. And I’m not tripping off some Gwyneth Paltrow “I am African” nonsense either. We really are in full actuality all in this thing together.
Here’s this thing:
So grave is the crisis that in some US cities, one in two black men who have sex with other men are HIV positive, according to the report from the Black AIDS Institute, the only national HIV-AIDS think tank focusing on African Americans.
The 74-page report, “Back of the Line: The State of AIDS Among Black Gay Men in America,” says black gay and bisexual men make up one in 500 Americans overall, but account for one in four new HIV infections in the United States.
HIV prevalence among such men is twice as high than among their white counterparts. They are also far less likely to be alive three years after being diagnosed with AIDS than white or Latino gays and bisexuals.
This is simply unacceptable and terrifying. You are scaring me! You have me worrying about my unborn babies and your babies and your gorgeous, precious selves over these dreadful statistics. I may be a happily married man – Goldfish performed the ceremony with no witnesses in a state that did not at that moment in time recognize same-sex marriage as law, but Derek and Meredith got married on a goddamn Post-It and nobody balked at that. Fictional? Hardly the point. – but not so many moons ago I was THE gay white boy ruining countless classic rock karaoke nights’ momentum with my Mobb Deep and Erykah Badu covers. Got a problem with that? You better call Tyrone.
So while I’m not indifferent to the difference that a person’s skin color makes when breaking news in very broad strokes, my point is that I feel you, if you’re interested in being felt. Whatever.
These numbers are crazy. One in two black, gay men have HIV in parts of this here first world nation? Stop. I cannot take this news.
What’s the solution? Well, condoms are a good place to start. Education, affordable health care access, eliminating a culture of fear about medical care, acceptance of homosexuality within the black community – Rock the boat, rock the boat, rock the boat, Frank Ocean – and understanding that HIV is not a death sentence. These things are a good place to start.
You may think that you are unaffected by this devastating information because you are a Latina married lesbian mother of two or one of those “whites only” jackholes on Grindr, but you are so, so wrong. Because sometimes even happily married lesbian wives cheat on their spouses, and sometimes with men. And the fact that you drew some line in the sand about getting down with black men doesn’t mean that one of your current sexual partners or one of his partners, or his partners, ever did.
These statistics affect us all, and we all need to be part of the solution. So let’s talk about it.
How do we fix this cultural, societal, geographical, sexual injustice? Because we must.