The CDC’s 2015 HIV Surveillance Report is out, and with it, the 15 cities with the highest rates of new cases of HIV. What’s striking here is that most of the new cases are in the South. Tireless work has helped to reduce the stigma of HIV, but with the ongoing and ever increasing bigotry against all queer folk, that stigma is re-asserting itself, along with the stigma of being LGBT in many states. It must be emphasised, once again, that hetero people also contract HIV, it’s no guarantee at all that you won’t be at risk. I don’t care what people do sexually, as long as they are fully consensual adults, but in such hateful and uncertain times, especially in regard to healthcare, this is no time to take risks or blithely assume it won’t be a problem for you. It’s best to remember that a great many people cheat, too. And cheaters have a tendency to lie. Please, be careful, protect yourself and your partner[s] at all times, take the time to be aware of not just HIV, but all sexually transmitted diseases, get tested, urge others to get tested, and don’t let yourself be bullied by any partner or potential partner who does not want to use protection or get tested. If you are sexually assaulted or raped, don’t eschew testing, it could save your life. This applies even if you do not want to report. No one can force you to report, but get tested.
Cities, in order: 1, Miami, Florida. 2, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 3, New Orleans, Louisiana. 4, Jackson, Mississippi. 5, Atlanta, Georgia. 6, Orlando, Florida. 7, Louisville, Kentucky and Jefferson County, Indiana. 8, Memphis, Tennessee. 9, Jacksonville, Florida. 10, Baltimore, Maryland. 11, Houston, Texas. 12, Washington, DC. 13, Columbia, South Carolina. 14, Las Vegas, Nevada. 15, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida.
If you’re in one of these cities, be vigilant about your health, but remember, being outside these states is no guarantee. Be careful, please.
The T.R.U.T.H Project will be active in one of the listed cities, Houston.
To commemorate National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, an initiative to engage the Black community about the importance of HIV education and testing, on February 7 the T.R.U.T.H project will hold a performance and panel discussion with Houston health professionals and advocates to discuss and answer questions about HIV and mental health.
The one-night only event is titled “I am My Brother/Sister’s Keeper: Fight HIV/AIDS” and will also be providing free HIV and Syphilis testing for all who attend. The show is sponsored by the Houston Department Bureau of HIV/STD Prevention and Walgreens, with additional support from AIDS Foundation Houston, and will be moderated by author and empowerment coach Jai Sneed.
“We can’t address HIV/ AIDS without touching on mental and emotional health. The public health and scientific communities are working on great new biomedical interventions, but uptake and effectiveness are stagnated when other needs aren’t being met.”
Panelists include licensed professional counselors Dr. Kimm Perez and Milton Smith, Human Rights activist and HIV advocate Deondre Moore, PrEP and HIV Advocate Adonis May, clinical social worker DeShantra Moore, HIV/AIDS advocate Tiffany Quinton, and will feature artists Nick Muckleroy and visual artist Ashley “Pinklomein” Price.
Those with mental health issues are at higher risk of becoming HIV-positive, and once poz are more likely to have negative health outcomes, especially if they are Black gay men.