Monday, December 1, 2008

Until...


When I first started to come to Atlanta, HIV awareness campaigns were everywhere. Free condoms and lube fell like raindrops. I was literally accosted by HIV/AIDS pamphlets at the club. Celebrities wore bracelets declaring to stand up until a cure was found. Television specials aired and blogs buzzed about the disease. Today, I have barely heard a mention of World AIDS Day and that is sad.

Over 25 million Americans have contracted HIV since 1981.
While blacks comprise only 13% of the U.S. population, 49% of new HIV cases are blacks. Of the total percentage of new black AIDS cases, 61% designated same sex male contact as their transmission category.

My heart is broken as I write this because I realize that so much more needs to be done to fight this disease. More needs to be done to educate, especially young black men, about safe, satisfying sex. More needs to be done to support those battling this disease and who are, despite inadequate health care, winning every day. And more needs to be done to honor those who have lost their lives to this disease.

I don’t know any black gay man who does not know someone who is living with this disease. I don’t know any black gay man who has not had a sexual encounter with someone who is battling this disease and I don’t know any gay black man who has not engaged in some sort of risky behavior that could have lead to this disease.

I should be HIV positive. Honestly, every one who reads this blog (gay, straight, black, white) should be HIV positive. It is by grace that I am HIV negative. The same grace that keeps me cancer free, keeps me HIV negative. And I am not HIV negative because I deserve to be and no one has HIV because they deserve to have it. I am not HIV negative because I have lived a chaste life or because I have not engaged in high risk behavior. I am HIV free right now because that is not my calling or my cross to bear at this moment and I believe the same can be said for everyone who is HIV negative.

We cannot stop caring. We cannot stop hoping. Most importantly, we cannot stop praying.

10 comments:

thegayte-keeper said...

I share your sentiments when it comes to this fight...I too feel that it is amazing that I am HIV- because I've done things that put myself @ risk...

Q said...

Wow, you are so right...

Crazy Diamond said...

I appreciate your passion and empathy on this issue. AIDS is a disease that eventually overwhelms our bodies and minds, but first overwhelms our mouths and prevents us from talking about it. The more we don't talk about it, the more it spreads. It's the most intimidating disease of our lifetime, but we as humankind have delivered some remarkable blows to it — from the empathy and community gay men showed each other during the '80s, to the development of lifesaving drugs in the '90s. It's scary that AIDS is again showing us its force through higher infection rates, but we will defeat this disease, and I think gay men play a special role in that. Get tested. Talk with your partners. Volunteer for vaccine trials. Explore safer sex options. Be a friend. Never give up.

fuzzy said...

i agree we cannot stop the effort! we have to remember the cause! the problem is that is has become like any other treatable disease. people believe a cure is coming. they have rested in a false sense of security and become comfortable with it. the whole idea! now, it has been swept under the rug... we must do better!

D-Place said...

Excellent Post with words that are very much needed.

Acoustic Soul said...

Corey, I love you for this post man. You spoke volumes! You are correct, until there is a cure, we cannot stop the fight!

kennyking78 said...

Corey, thank you so much for this post. I felt like World AIDS Day just came and went without much of anything. I saw no news reporting, nothing, until I searched for some on the Internet the following day.

The words you speak are correct and really sum up this entire struggle that we, as gay, black men face.

I get tested RELIGIOUSLY! Even when I was in what I thought was a monogomous relationship, I got tested every six months.

HIV/AIDS is no joke, I have seen it take people down who were not strong in spirit. I have also seen people live very healthy lives who were strong in spirit. We ALL should be sympathetic to the effects HIV/AIDS have on others.

I am just rambling, but thanks again for this post. It is nice to know that another HIV- brother is sensitive to the struggle.

It could be us any day.

life said...

You're right the focus on HIV/AIDS has decreased a great deal. I haven't been involved in about 2 yrs and use to very involved.

Keith Jones said...

Excellent post. I couldn't agree more. As someone who studied in ATL for four years and lived the life to the FULLEST I am blessed to be HIV negative. More awareness is needed amongst black males because this is a very serious disease that is killing us silently.

frederic said...

praying might be good, but certainly not enough.my afro-latin friend is positive, taking n o risk is the only way.Praying might be good, as I said, but not enough. All I can do now, is praying that he`ll survive as long as possible
love to you all from vienna, austria