Friday, August 05, 2011

Saving our Lives in 2011

I've been on the road doing what I do and of course you all know what that is, right? Well, in case you don't and for the most part you don't, I've just returned from a Black Gay Men Technical Assistance Meeting of National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Director in Washington D.C. As you can see, COP 24/7 goes on no matter the destination, event or breaking news. While the meeting was set with a pre-agenda, it was the release of the recent Center for Disease Controls statistics that there has been a 48% increase in HIV infections among Black men 13-29 in the United States. As this information was announced during the meeting, it literally stop the room and the air evaporated. Stunned attendees displayed a range of emotions from silence to tears. As for myself, I wasn't sure what to feel or how to digest this information. In my mind, I kept thinking its been 30 years of HIV and despite the various efforts, serious dollars spent and hopeful forward momentum, these stats continue to climb. Yet, the numbers don't lie and we find our selves faced with these troubling facts in 2011. Locally, there has been much done and many resources afforded to the cause to this organization and that organization, but some how the incidences continue to spike. The dynamics of HIV/AIDS work is complex, challenging and often times frustrating across the board. Even though I had been engaged over the years, at this point I've been brought back to the table in a more comprehensive manner. At one point, I thought that "some one else" was taking care this dilemma and that "some one else" had things under control, plus that "some one else" was monitoring the situation and with that thought I believed that everything was progressing nicely, thank you. However, what I've found is that this is not the case and unfortunately to my dismay never has quite been the truth. While hearing this disturbing news, all I could think of was a question that was asked of me, "what the hell will it take to get these gay folk mad about this disease.?' So tell me people, is their any part of this news or future news that will ignite your passion, fuel your anger or set you on fire? I don't need those who I already know, its those of you who I don't know that I'm trying to get a sense of your attitude. Ladies and Gentlemen, this health crisis is not agencies, it's not about faceless groups or entities that meet with agendas, this entire out cry is to demand action and energizing the premise of the highly touted "making the dollars follow the disease," philosophy. But with this funding must also come a people who want to step to the plate to assist local organizations in their advocate and "nuts and bolts" pursuits to affect change in policies and access to care. Furthermore, we also must consider that throwing money at unproductive measures must be assessed and reviewed. We know that much has been attempted, but much more will be needed to either continue to work from a prevention angle or either an access to care approach. No matter what the tactics, what's most needed is "voices" and "bold action" from all of the community especially the Black/SGL community whom continue to stand on the sidelines with somewhat muted voices while many of our brothers and sisters disappear without recognition. As I listened to the distressing news, it was the final words of Dr. Rashad Burgess of the Center for Disease Control, that most resonated with me when he said that "I'm asking each you to do something. Anything you can. But please go back to your communities and do something." It seems so simple doesnt' it. So, as I return to this community I am going to do something. And that something is asking for your voices, donations, contributions, attention, and of all, your support as we all move forward in  dealing with this health issue. In closing, ask your self is my life valuable to do something. Anything? Surely I could do something can't I. My reply, why of course you can, because we're here to show you how. For more information contact  or   Check out  or   Share your thoughts with us anytime in our comment section. Come follow COP 24/7 for the latest updates, breaking news, opinion and videos. Arkansas' only updating online portal! Since 2004  Subscribe TODAY!!

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