World AIDS Day, 1 December is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. This year, it’s up to you, me and us to stop the spread of HIV and end prejudice. Since HIV was first identified a quarter of a century ago, it has been a stigmatised disease, resulting in silence and denial. Every day someone with HIV experiences discrimination at work, in healthcare and among family and friends. Stigma discourages people from testing for HIV or disclosing their status to their partner, which fuels the spread of the disease.

We all know HIV/AIDS is still out there! We know it’s not going away anytime soon. I’ve survived HIV/AIDS for over 28years now. I guess you could call me one of the “lucky ones.” But there are thousands of people out there, many maybe in your own life, who are (or were) not as lucky. I’m “lucky” enough to be able to do this ride.. as a tribute to those I know, don’t know, & have known…. & as a testament of my perseverance in the face of this epidemic..

I know HIV/AIDS is not a GAY disease. We all know that. But, it is a disease that DOES affect our community. AIDS is still an epidemic in this country. One of many. And I am hoping that in my lifetime I will see it come to an end. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of HIV/AIDS. Though HIV is not a death sentence I encourage YOU to be HONEST about your status…Use PROTECTION and get educated and keep it real with each other…

HIV: The Litmus Test for Love. Amongst the drama, trauma, and hysterics surrounding the HIV/AIDS pandemic within the community, probably one of the most hidden blessings of this situation actually lies within a forced emotional maturity and a deeper and more intense reflection of life, love and relationships. This fact is doubly amplified within the SAME-GENDER-LOVING community as our romantic relationships are often invalidated, canceled, and rendered null and void by the general community. With such entrenched societal pressures against gays/lesbians, a budding gay/same-gender loving relationship is often burdened and complicated further with the brunt of HIV, a force so great that it could potentially disrupt and devastate the lives of individualsstanding in its path. However, a glorious truth, shiny pearl of wisdom, and a longsufferingroot of life arises from the potential specter of HIV; it is called unconditional love. Yes, love springs eternal rising above the ashes of what HIV seeks to burn, and what society seeks to condemn you for.

You see HIV is the ultimate litmus test of love, especially within the black gay community. It divides the men form the boys, the women from the girls, and it forces you to think, re-think, and think again. So are you in love with him or just in lust with him? HIV knows thedifference and the proof will be in your decision to stay or to walk away. Regardless of your status, the weightiness of HIV automatically sends you off marching into deep prayer and meditation. And from this space of self-reflection comes your power, strength, and will to not only survive but to instead to thrive, despite of and in spite of HIV.


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