WASHINGTON, DC — In commemoration of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness day, Dr. David J. Johns, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), a leading civil rights organization, issued the following statement.

“We have made considerable strides in our fight against HIV/AIDS since the 1970s, yet there remains so much more work to do.  In spite of our best efforts, Black same-gender loving (SGL), gay, bisexual, and queer+ (GBQ+) men; who are at greater risk for testing positive for as well as those who are living with HIV face immense shame and stigma today. Although a diagnosis is no longer synonymous with death, Black SGL/GBQ+ men are still dying as a result of stigma and shame, and this does not have to be our reality.  

“Black boys and men are more affected by HIV than any other group in the United States. This disparate impact is exactly why we should be intensifying efforts to eradicate the virus. Today, more than 1 million Americans live with HIV. Thanks to medical innovations and treatments, this disease, which once ravaged the queer community, is a liveable condition

“NBJC will continue to advocate for comprehensive HIV/AIDS and sex education and promote testing at home, in schools, and in at-risk communities. We will continue to advocate for community resources and outreach programs, access to prescription medications like PreP, and ensure that responses to the novel coronavirus and MPox include an appropriate focus on the needs of our community as it relates to the continued impact of HIV/AIDS. 

Together, we can reduce stigma, prevent HIV among the hardest-hit populations, and help people with HIV stay healthy–this is especially true for Black people who continue to be impacted disproportionately.”

NBJC’s National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day toolkit provides resources for gay, bisexual, and same-gender loving men to start talking openly about HIV prevention and management. 

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