February 12, 2013
Jamar Rogers, a 30-year-old singer of The Voice fame, is sharing the story of his early AIDS diagnosis as part of the "Let's Stop HIV Together" campaign, a CDC-launched social awareness campaign. He has been traveling to high schools and universities, lecturing students about the importance of safe sex.
Rogers was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS after six years of using methamphetamine, sharing needles, and having unprotected sex. He viewed the 13th anniversary of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a mixture of despair and hope. Rogers felt that the day was not only a time to recognize that blacks continue to have the greatest burden of HIV in the nation, but also a time for lawmakers, leaders, and the community to look for an end of the epidemic. He noted that there are still many people at risk and engaging in risky behavior. By sharing his story, he is also trying to warn individuals that they do not have to wait until they are as sick as he was before he found out.
Rogers wanted youth to know that HIV/AIDS is still around. He said that the present approaches to educating youth about safer sex is not working, and that his approach is from the point of view of self-respect and self-love. Although he is not sure whether his method is working, Rogers aims to continue to travel and share his story as much as possible.