As I was driving through Atlanta's West End on Sunday I passed by the above billboard and I had to pull over to capture the image on my camera. I was struck by the billboard's message as well as the models chosen to represent the many faces of HIV.
It is no secret that HIV/AIDS has become a Black disease. Black gay men are being hit the hardest. According to a study conducted by the CDC in 5 major cities throught the U.S., more than 46% of all Black gay men are HIV positive.
HIV is the enemy. There is something that I find so ironic about the tone of this message, HIV does not discriminate, but yet human beings do. Our goal should be to search for a cure and treat this disease effectively and worry less about how people became infected. Whether you're black, white, gay, or straight no one deserves this disease.
Stigma and religious bigotry is alive and well. How many people do you hear at church say "pray for me church I have HIV or AIDS?" No one from fear of being ostracised and treated like a leper.
Well what do you do when you're a gay man and you're positive or completely healthy and you're turned away from your doctor because of who you are? Unfortunately this sort of thing is happening in doctor's offices all over the country. Gay men are going to their doctors for medical attention but instead are being given religious lectures and a prescription of Leviticus 18:22 .
An example of this medical malpractice occured with a youg man named Jay. You can read the full story on gayhealth.com. And they wonder why brothas won't get tested and why we're dying at a much faster rate than any other group?