Another month and another article to tell us what we already know; HIV is plaguing the Black community. The Washington Post’s article How black Americans became the face of the HIV epidemic provides details with eye catching informative diagrams and charts. Cypher Avenue has asked the questions before, does the Black community and Black LGBT/SGL community as a whole care about HIV? If your answer is “Yes…duh, of course they do”, then why does the infection rates keep escalating in communities of color? Obviously the always practice safe sex-where condoms approach isn’t fully working here. An opinion I expressed recently that I feel needs further examination and discussion is;

Some HIV/AIDS Activists Are A Part Of The Problem Yes…I said it. All (I use “all” loosely) we hear from those infected with HIV and HIV/AIDS activists is how HIV/AIDS is not a death sentence and you can live a happy normal life. This is true and factional but what I think needs to also be stressed is that in the process of living your normal and healthy life, the expensive financial costs for proper medications and treatment. Another thing is that once you begin to take your treatment, you may have severe side effects from the medications. Struggling to afford medications and possibly having side effects from the treatments is serious and many have troubles in regards to this aspect. I do wish these characteristics were talked about more. Regardless of the ailments, less money in our pockets or accounts equals less money in LGBT communities of color, less money in communities of color as a whole, less money for education, mental health, investments, business, quality of life, etc. It’s a terrible interconnected cycle.

According to the CDC (2010 projection) the average expense of HIV medication and treatment can cost an infected individual $379,668 over their lifetime. These are dollars being spent to treat a preventable disease and not necessarily being use to enhance or enrich minority communities. In another recent article of ours, we highlighted that a 2008 study (Conspicuous Consumption & Race) revealed that blacks spend more on luxury items like clothes, cars, jewelry and electronics than whites. Even though blacks often times have less, they spend up to 28% more on these types of items than their white counterparts.

I’m open to trying new ways to get the message out and say that not only does HIV/AIDs impact health, it also impacts our wallets. Maybe another way to approach this crisis is to focus on the potential financial hardship or what luxuries can’t be obtained due to costly HIV treatments? If so, I came up with my own diagram to show what luxury items could be purchased with $379,668.


2,531 pairs of Air Jordan Future



949 PS4 or Xbox One Gaming Consoles



151 Prada Bucket Bags



607 pairs Ron Ron Red Bottoms






41 Rolex Perpetual Datejust II Watch



10,847 Bottles of Ciroc vodka



10 Mercedes C-Class Sedans



7,593 Richard Sherman NFL Jerseys



1,898 Iphones



474 Samsung 55” Flat Screen TVs



5,423 Lebron James NBA Jerseys



949 pairs of Gucci Shades



11,166 Bottles of Remy Martin



5583 pairs of Sean John Jeans





The Washington Post article is by Jeff Guo. Follow him on Twitter: @_jeffguo.