"When I came out of the closet I didn’t think I would have to do it again, especially at work."- Justin Smith
According to a 2005 Center for Disease Control (CDC) study researchers found that gay and bisexual black men were more than twice as likely to be infected with HIV as other racial and ethnic groups, and were much less likely to be aware of their HIV infection. Countless theories exist as to why the infection rates paired with the silence surrounding the disease exists in the black community, but there is a handful of activists and people living with HIV who refuse to be silent while hundreds of new infections are occurring each day.
Justin Smith is one of those activists and he recently disclosed his status in one of the most unlikeliest of places-his workplace.
Smith tells loldarian.com the reason he decided to disclose his HIV status to his boss was his need to snack throughout the day.
"People who have HIV need to have more nutrients in there daily life than people who are HIV negative", says Smith.
"The way I usually do this is through pills and food. I do both because I want to stay at the top of my game and stay healthy. I try to drink Ensure as well to help with maintaining my weight", he added.
Smith thought his decision to disclose something so intensely personal at work would be met with respect and adulation and posted his decision to his Facebook page changing his status to read, “Justin B Smith just disclosed his HIV status to his Boss”. His boss took the news well but the reaction of his friends were mixed.
One friend asked, "Why do you have to wear your HIV status on your sleeve"? Smith's response: Why should I have to keep my status a secret? The more we talk about HIV/AIDS the better off our community will be.
By using YouTube to share his story of living with HIV with the masses Smith is always talking about it. Watch Justin Smith explain his decision to disclose at work for himself in the video below. Would you have the courage to do the same?