Today I went to get my quarterly HIV test to renew my Truvada (PrEP) prescription. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever had gotten an HIV test using another HIV prevention tool other than condoms. There’s always some thought in the back of my mind that I could get HIV because I know that not having sex with a condom will possibly give me HIV. This has been ingrained since I was a middle school student. But I did feel more at ease and, as a result, I started to think more about what’s worried me and just how much I’ve grown.
I don’t think there is a whole lot more that I can say about Ferguson that hasn’t been articulated before. I do, however, think that the disregard for black lives extends to another arena: HIV prevention and treatment. A 2010 study from the CDC yielded shocking results. Among men who have sex with men (MSM), black men accounted for 39% of all new infections, and those ages 13-24 accounted for a particularly high percentage of the new cases. In 2011, the CDC launched a “Testing Makes Us Stronger” campaign that I interviewed a then-director about. Despite progress at the federal level, locally and statewide, there has been a disregard for more diversity in HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and education.