The Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, David Johns talks HIV and AIDS in the Black (or Same Gender Loving*) Community with George Johnson and Waddie G. for National Gay Men’s HIV AIDS Awareness Day.
Every September 27th is Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and although testing knowledge and prevention techniques are widely known among gay white men [i.e. PrEP, U=U], the same may not be true in the Black gay community.
Johnson notes that his generation has less attachment to the Black church that has helped them craft their own voice that may not have been available to previous generations of Black gay men.
Johns in BET identified 5 Myths that emerged from the conversation, including “1. HIV/AIDS IS NO LONGER A CRISIS While it is true that there have been medical and scientific advancements that enable people to thrive with HIV/AIDS, the belief that Black people should not be concerned about the epidemic is a LIE.
Since the introduction of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s, Black people have been disproportionately impacted by the virus. In 2016, the CDC said 50% of Black men who have sex with men will be diagnosed with HIV during our lifetimes. This is a trend that must be stopped.”
WE SHOULDN’T TALK ABOUT HIV
Among the many things I will never forget my mother saying, one that stands out most is: “secrets destroy families.” It may be the case that more Black people die from the shame and stigma associated with HIV/AIDS than the virus.
I hope the advice George and Waddie offered in the above video for talking to loved ones, both platonic and intimate, about sexual health and HIV is instructive for everyone.
*Same-gender-loving, or SGL, a term coined for African American use by activist Cleo Manago, is a description for homosexuals and bisexuals in the African American community. It emerged in the early 1990s as a culturally affirming African American homosexual identity.