Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#RealTalk: CDC Report Says Half Of Black Gay Men Will Contract #HIV In Their Lifetime

People living in the South are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV over the course of their life than people in other parts of the country. States where risk is greatest include Maryland (1 in 49), Georgia (1 in 51), Florida (1 in 54), and Louisiana (1 in 56).

Yesterday during CROI the CDC released a report on a study it conducted, which "provides the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of the lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis for several key populations at risk and in every state. Overall, the likelihood that an American will be diagnosed with HIV at any point during his or her life is now 1 in 99, an improvement from a previous study using 2004- 2005 data that reported lifetime risk at 1 in 78. Despite overall progress, this study reveals stark disparities by race, risk group and geography."

African American men overall are almost 7 times more likely than white men to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes. The disparity among women is even greater: 1 in 48 African American women will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes, compared with 1 in 227 Hispanic women and 1 in 880 white women.

Honestly Black gay men deserve respect and attention in a sincere and holistic way, as a good friend of mine stated:

"If you love Black gay men, you won't place us into boxes. If you love Black gay men, you won't care to only tell salacious stories. If you love Black gay men, you will be critical of headlines. If you love Black gay men, you will care about us before seroconversion. If you love Black gay men and want to help the HIV pandemic, you won't simply try to throw a condom onto everything to erase the very real social determinants. If you love Black gay men, you would care about access. If you love Black gay men, you would care about poverty. If you love Black gay men, you would care about stigma, slut-shaming, sex-shaming, bottom-shaming, resources, race, and sexuality. If you love Black gay men living with HIV, you would consider what recent CDC studies could mean for outdated criminalization laws. If you love Black gay men, you would care about nuance and complexity.

But that would be too much to ask because funding only matters once people have a positive diagnosis. Then the world pretends to care.‪#‎InMyFeelings‬ 
" - Preston D. Mitchum

So this mean that the Trans community deserves the same respect and attention in a sincere and holistic way too. It is problematic that ALL of the projections in reference to MSM (Men who have sex with men) don't separate or give proper attention to the population of TransWomen at risk for HIV. This report is truly misgendering and institutionally Transphobic, I ask that those, including myself with influence in the HIV community to force the CDC and federal government overall to be more thoughtful toward Black and Latinx Transwomen. I Cannot trust this report if it excludes entire communities and provides a gateway to criminalization on a level we have not seen before in states with archaic HIV laws. Same goes for the treatment of TransMen, but think on the fact that as Cisgender folks (me included), we must let the Trans community speak for themselves and that means breaking our silence in a LOUD voice to make space for them to do so. 

The trans community is not a Monolith, nor is being Black or Latino, but we have to make sure everyone counts and that means recognizing that gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same thing. Recognize that there are TransWomen that are attracted only to women and TransMen who are attracted to other men, in other words there are Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Trans folks.

Sex - refers to biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs.
Gender - describes the characteristics that a society or culture delineates as masculine or feminine.
Gender identity - is a person's private sense and subjective experience of their own gender. This is generally described as one's private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female.
Gender expression

Gender expression - refers to all of the external characteristics and behaviors that are socially defined as either masculine or feminine, such as dress, grooming, mannerisms, speech patterns and social interactions. Social or cultural norms can vary widely and some characteristics that may be accepted as masculine, feminine or neutral in one culture may not be assessed similarly in another.

Transgender - is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity or expression is different from those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g., the sex listed on their birth certificate). Not all people who consider themselves (or who may be considered by others as) transgender will undergo a gender transition. 

Gender transition - Transitioning is the process some transgender people go through to begin living as the gender with which they identify, rather than the sex assigned to them at birth. This may or may not include hormone therapy, sex reassignment surgery and other medical procedures.

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