HIV News & Views, June 16, 2011
June 16, 2011
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Steven Villa Steven Villa on Stereotypes: Take off Your Blindfold and Look Through My Eyes (Pride 2011)
"I knew I was gay, but I didn't want to be what television told me I had to be: flamboyant, with arched eyebrows, with ear piercings, [someone] who takes drugs and sleeps around," writes Steven Villa. Yet in the process of coming out and finally feeling that he was accepted by his community, he found himself embodying those very stereotypes that he initially didn't respect -- and questioning why he didn't respect them.

Maria T. Mejia Maria T. Mejia: Fighting Stigma Within Our Own HIV Community
"If we are stigmatizing ourselves, what can we expect from others?" blogger Maria T. Mejia asks. Maria took some flack recently because of her decision to make her name on Facebook "MariaHIV" rather than her full name -- and then when she friended others, her name showed up on their page. "I am talking about just a name on Facebook! You can't have a friend on Facebook that has HIV in it!?"

Kenyon Farrow Kenyon Farrow: A Love Letter to the LGBT Community of Newark, N.J.
"Black and Latino lesbians, gays, bisexual, queer and transgender folks were coming to and fro ... in search of community, a good time, or some place that felt safer than the homes, apartments, shelters or street corners from which we were fleeing," writes Kenyon Farrow. In his speech at the opening ceremonies of Newark Pride 2011 in New Jersey, Farrow talks about his experiences with the area's traditionally stigmatized, yet flourishing and vibrant, LGBT community.


June 5, 1981: That's the day that a medical publication reported an outbreak of Pneumocystis pneumonia among five young, gay men in Los Angeles, Calif. That nondescript, two-page article was the first published report on what we now know all too well as AIDS and the virus that causes it, HIV.

Throughout 2011, will write and collect articles, reflections and blog entries looking back at the past three decades. Here are some of the latest:

Kellee Terrell AIDS @ 30: Media Coverage From the Early Days (Videos)
As she watched the deluge of mainstream coverage on AIDS turning 30, our news editor Kellee Terrell started to wonder: How did the media report on AIDS when we were only just beginning to understand what it was? In this blog post, she shows us "some interesting (and sometimes upsetting) news broadcasts that give us small glimpses of what messages Americans were getting about this disease from mainstream news outlets."

Rae Lewis-Thornton Rae Lewis-Thornton: Looking Back at 30
"I don't remember hearing about AIDS back then -- and if I did, with a name like GRID, I probably would have dismissed it in seconds," blogger Rae Lewis-Thornton admits. "I mean, I am a heterosexual woman, and gay had nothing to do with me. And given the fact that I was trying to figure out where my next meal was coming from, a disease like this would have been the last thing on my mind."

 30-Year AIDS Report Card: Which Presidents Make the Grade
Over the past 30 years, five U.S. Commanders in Chief have led the nation's response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Who gets good marks? From 1981 to the present, the Black AIDS Institute assesses each president's leadership, summarizes his biggest hits and misses, and dishes out an overall grade.

More Headlines on 30 Years of AIDS:

Join the Conversation

Lillian (From Bamberg, Germany) on "Coming In and Out of the Closet"

"As a young gay woman, there is a lot of pressure as to how I present myself and my gayness. There are people who feel that the more they do in public, the more self confident they are. To me, this is not true at all. I believe that self confidence should stay in ourselves, and is based on how we look in our own eyes."

Read the rest of Lillian's comment and join the discussion on this article!


Joe Osmundson Baby I Was Born This Way, But Should It Matter?
From Lady Gaga's catchy song to President Obama's speech pleading for tolerance, more and more LGBT advocates and allies are pushing for equality based on the argument that being LGBT is purely a matter of genetics. But Joe Osmundson questions whether this is the right approach: "While the dance beat pulses and the club kids sing, 'Baby I was born this way!' we should also consider the important question: 'Should it matter?'"

 HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight: Care Resource in Florida
In's new HIV/AIDS Organization Spotlight series, we focus on some of the true unsung heroes of the HIV/AIDS community: the groups that support and provide services for people living with, or at risk for, HIV. This week, we turn our sights on Care Resource, a major HIV/AIDS service provider in southern Florida for the past 27 years.

Candace Y.A. Montague 5 Key Questions From the Live White House Discussion on HIV/AIDS
Candace Y.A. Montague recaps highlights from a special Q & A with federal officials that was held to recognize the 30th anniversary of the first published AIDS report. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., Jeff Crowley, M.P.H., from the Office of National AIDS Policy, and Carl Dieffenbach, Ph.D., from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases answered a range of questions via Facebook and email about AIDS in the U.S.

Allen Kwabena Frimpong The Suicide of "Coming Out": The Politics of Disclosure and Building Young People's Capacity to "Invite In"
"Many of the young people who have lost their lives this past year may have thought that 'coming out' would lift the heavy burden of internalized oppression, and that such an act would provoke a feeling of liberation," Allen Kwabena Frimpong writes. In the wake of recent LGBT youth suicides in the U.S., Frimpong offers three key pieces of advice we can use to help LGBT teens win their personal battles against stigma.

More News & Views Headlines:

Connect With Others

My Sister Finally Disclosed to Me. Now What?
(A recent post from the "My Loved One Has HIV/AIDS" board)

"Yesterday, my younger sister told me she tested positive. She's known for over a year now, as well as my mom and dad. She didn't tell me because she was afraid I wasn't going to let her see my son, who was born two months after her diagnosis. My son is now 13 months old. I hate to sound self-centered, but I'm angry she kept this from me for so long and thought I would keep my boy away from her. I feel sad, scared and confused. ... I don't know what I'm expecting writing this, but any and all responses are welcome."

 -- Brodysmom

Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!

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roundtable participants Homophobia and HIV Risk: What's Family Got to Do With It?
It's a familiar and haunting refrain: People who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer are systematically rejected by their families. And if we're to talk seriously about reducing HIV risk among our LGBT brothers and sisters, we have to talk about homophobia within families. In this groundbreaking two-part conversation, our community manager Olivia Ford talks with three experts and advocates about the problem -- and how to fix it.

Justin B. Terry-Smith Magic Johnson Is NOT Cured of HIV, People! (Video)
Justin B. Terry-Smith wishes Magic Johnson did a better job speaking out about his status. "Some people say that, 'Oh so Magic Johnson's been cured of HIV so I can have unprotected sex again' ... NOT," he says. "My wish is that people keep protecting themselves against HIV. Prevention right now should be one of our top priorities since there is no cure at the moment."

More HIV/STD Transmission & Education Headlines:

Activist Central

 June 15: HIV PJA Webinar -- Glass Half Full: Resilience Among Gay Men as an Emerging HIV Prevention Justice Strategy

 NYC and Housing Works Launch re-fashioNYC

 Call to Action: Sign a Petition to Support Youth Participation in Global HIV/AIDS Decision-Making

 Action Alert: Condemn NY Post for Revealing Strauss-Kahn Victim Lives in AIDS Housing

 Tell Washington, D.C. to Fully Fund ADAP and Other HIV/AIDS Programs to Prevent Needless Deaths

 NMAC's ADAP Action Campaign: Get Free Flip Video Camera to Collect Stories