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.
Black people bear the brunt of this epidemic. We are 13% of the population, but about half of the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS, nearly half of new HIV cases, and half of annual AIDS-related deaths in this country are Black.