HIV Epidemic Cannot be Ignored in Louisiana, Southern U.S.
The New York Times released a story this week about the hidden HIV epidemic in the Southern United States that has a huge impact on the health and lives of Black gay and bisexual men.
A 2016 CDC report showed that 1 in 2 Black gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime if we do not address the epidemic among this population. Many factors contribute to the burden of HIV among Black gay and bisexual men including the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV, getting tested, going to the doctor, and for being a black gay or bisexual man in America; limited safe and inclusive spaces that provide culturally appropriate services; lack of education and employment opportunities; limited transportation; and other factors. We must continue to educate young Black gay and bisexual men about new options to prevent HIV and stay healthy as well as address thee underlying factors (e.g., stigma and discrimination) that contribute to the high HIV rates among Black gay and bisexual men.
LPHI is currently collaborating with the Capitol Area Reentry Program (CARP) in Baton Rouge to educate and empower a group of young Black gay and bisexual men to serve as peer educators to go out and educate their friends and other people in their social circles about new advances in HIV prevention, how to address some of the barriers that they encounter, and where to go for services. For more information about this program, please contact Gjvar Payne at 225-775-7988.