September 24, 2020         
Despite being more likely to have life insurance, Black individuals are far more underinsured than whites   •   Give Blck: New Database Connects Donors to Black Nonprofits   •   Spectrum Labs Closes $10M Series A, Accelerating Its Work to Help Consumer Brands Fight Toxic Behavior Online   •   SME Leaders Sandra Bouckley and Dianne Chong Included in Inaugural Women in Manufacturing Hall of Fame   •   Teach to One Roadmaps--New Math Tools To Solve Learning Loss During Covid-19 and Beyond   •   Wells Fargo Funds Legal Assistance for Renters at Risk of Eviction   •   Eighteen WPP Leaders Recognised in the HERoes Women Role Model Lists 2020   •   CEO Charlie Scharf Reinforces Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion   •   HSBC Bank USA Appoints Ralph Jardine as Head of Inclusion and Culture   •   Harris & Hayden Strengthens Excessive Force, Civil Rights & Employment Law Practice with New Partnership   •   If You Bought Electronics Such as a Portable Computer, Power Tool, Camcorder, or Mobile Phone Containing a Lithium Ion Battery o   •   Greenlight Raises $215 Million at a $1.2 Billion Valuation To Help Millions More Parents Raise Financially-Smart Kids   •   New Voices Foundation + Target Accelerators to Hold $100,000 Virtual Pitch Competition for Women of Color Entreprenuers   •   We Still Climb: Adaptive Team To Climb 19,347 Feet In 48-Hours To Help Amputee Patients In Need Of Prosthetic Care   •   Largest Used Car Retailer Completes Roll Out of Online Car Buying Nationwide   •   Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Joins L'ATTITUDE For An Exclusive Address   •   RB, The Makers Of Lysol, And The CDC Foundation Partner To Help Schools Re-Open Safely   •   Statement on One-Year Anniversary of Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator   •   Millendo Therapeutics Announces Initiation of First-in-Human Clinical Trial of MLE-301, a Selective NK3R Antagonist   •   America's Best Beverage Announces Broadening of Direct-to-Consumer Sales of America's Best Coffee Roasting Company
Bookmark and Share

Why Black Straight Men Are Missing From The Fight Against HIV/AIDS

Opinion Editorial by Black AIDS Institute CEO and Founder Phill WIlson:

 This is the second in a series of editorials about the critical role that Black men play in ending the AIDS epidemic in Black America.

In a previous editorial, I shared three reasons that Black men matter in the fight against HIV/AIDS, whether they're straight, gay or bisexual. To summarize, Black men matter because Black men--straight, gay, bisexual or confused--are at disproportionate risk for HIV infection. Black men matter because they can play a critical role in protecting their partners. Black men matter because they also play a vital role in protecting their children. But Black men have largely been absent from the fight, particularly heterosexuals. Here, we look at some of the reasons.

Over the years, only a handful of straight Black men have actively and publicly fought HIV/AIDS. Among them are notables like Beny J. Primm, M.D., one of the world's leading experts in HIV/AIDS and substance abuse; Jerry Lopes, head of American Urban Radio Network; award-winning journalist George Curry; Dallas-based clinician and HIV expert M. Keith Rawlings, M.D.David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., the former surgeon general who once ran the Morehouse School of Medicine and now runs the Satcher Health Leadership Institute there; and the head of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. There are a number of others, but they are exceptions that prove the rule. As a whole, brothers in the barbershop have not been actively involved in fighting HIV.

I think that this has happened for a number of important reasons. First, heterosexual Black men mistakenly believe that HIV/AIDS is not about them--that they're not at risk, and few Black straight men get infected. It's no surprise that they harbor this misperception: Public health officials and AIDS activists have made little effort to communicate the magnitude of the epidemic among straight Black men. And when that message is conveyed about straight Black men, it is only within the context of demonizing them. We're quick to talk about brothers on the down low--supposedly straight men who are immoral sociopaths knowingly infecting women--or inmates who are either victims or perpetrators of prison rape and come out of prison and infect women.

Second, homophobia is real. Rightly or wrongly, many straight Black men still perceive HIV/AIDS as a "gay disease." When a straight Black man does join in the fight, his sexuality is called into question. Finally, heterosexual Black men have not been invited into the conversation about HIV/AIDS, a dialogue that has been taking place for almost 30 years. When they do try to participate, they are often met with hostility--or attacked for not having been involved earlier.

Given these dynamics, it's not surprising that when the subject of HIV/AIDS comes up, many Black straight men run for the hills. From their perspective, nothing good can come of their involvement in this conversation. What is surprising, however, is that many Black gay men have also abandoned the HIV/AIDS fight. Early on in the epidemic, the Black gay community was actively involved in the effort to confront AIDS. But in the recent past, other than Black gay men who are infected or affected, Black LGBT organizations and Black gay men in general have moved on to other issues. This is true in spite of data showing that in some urban centers, 46 percent of Black gay men are already infected. Black gay men represent nearly 20 percent of all new HIV infections in this country. America's Black gay men--and particularly young men--are the single most at-risk population in the country--and perhaps even on the planet.

What needs to happen to engage Black men, whether they're straight, bisexual or gay? Next week I'll suggest some answers.

Yours in the struggle,

Phill

Black AIDS Institute
1833 W 8th St Ste 200
Los Angeles, CA 90057
(213) 353-3610 Tel
(213) 989-0181 Fax


 



Back to top
| Back to home page
Video

White House Live Stream
LIVE VIDEO EVERY SATURDAY
alsharpton Rev. Al Sharpton
9 to 11 am EST
jjackson Rev. Jesse Jackson
10 to noon CST


Video

LIVE BROADCASTS
Sounds Make the News ®
WAOK-Urban
Atlanta - WAOK-Urban
KPFA-Progressive
Berkley / San Francisco - KPFA-Progressive
WVON-Urban
Chicago - WVON-Urban
KJLH - Urban
Los Angeles - KJLH - Urban
WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
New York - WKDM-Mandarin Chinese
WADO-Spanish
New York - WADO-Spanish
WBAI - Progressive
New York - WBAI - Progressive
WOL-Urban
Washington - WOL-Urban

Listen to United Natiosns News