How do we reconcile the explicit messages we present to black gay men countering homophobia and HIV stigma with the messages we imply through our HIV closets? Where is the integrity in challenging gay men to relinquish their imbedded shame as we demonstrate and justify our own?
Stigma cannot be dislodged unless more HIV-positive people come out of our viral closets and break down the barricades of fear and silence. It is no secret that black gay men bear the highest HIV burden. Our condition demands that we unleash the radical.
Instead of throwing a condom in a young gay black man's hand, first look at what his world looks like. What are his life circumstances? What societal barriers prevent him from getting the message on HIV? Does he feel that he has any worth?