June 27th is National HIV Testing Day. Do we care or should I say, does it really matter? Of course it does!

Cypher Avenue has talked about HIV/AIDS awareness, STD prevention and highlighted real life stories from real people numerous times since our incarnation. I tried to even use a different approach than the standard “wear condoms” mantra that we have heard for decades. I went the angle of the financial impact HIV can have upon individuals. Yet HIV infections among men of color continue to climb to disproportionate levels. Of course I’m not saying that because Cypher Avenue was on a soap box and talked about HIV/AIDS, therefore HIV transmissions amongst men of color should come to a grinding halt AND I’m not about to rattle off a bunch of statistics and provide hyperlinks as I’ve done in the past (If you’re reading this then you have access to the internet, look it up) but come on.

Have we really stopped to think and over analyze what the hell is going on within the GBT communities of color (yes I left out the L (lesbian) in the acronym for a reason. Look it up)? Why do GBT communities of color continue to have the highest levels of infections rates? I have a couple of theories as to why. Keep in mind theories are not absolutes.

But Straight People Do It Too
Please, please stop saying this. To me this is the mindset of those who want to side step the issue and conversation. If you can’t add to the discussion, tap out.

We Are F**ked Up
Yes, all of us are messed up in the head in some ways, shapes or forms. We all have issues; however in this instance I’m referring to GBT folk of color. Having levels of psychological damage and self-love/esteem deficiencies can lead to self-destructive behaviors. Self honestly through self-analysis is a step to taking better care of one’s self.

We Don’t Know How To Commit And Be Monogamous
Yes I know married hetero and homo people cheat and infect their partners but part of this is because we don’t know how to or choose not to commit and be monogamous. Committed relationship means you make a decision to be honest, trustworthy and faithful as to never…repeat NEVER step outside of your relationship under no circumstances. If you can’t follow this basic simple rule, stay single.

Unprotected Sex Is Natural And Feels Great
Why are we so afraid to admit this within the PC gay community? Once we say this out loud maybe we can come up with some alternatives or additions to the standard “wear condoms” repetition. Maybe we can add more substance to the conversation of homosexual sex. For example why don’t we have “Bottom Condoms” similar to the female condoms? Why aren’t condoms more environmentally friendly? What about having over the counter grade PrEP available for free or at very low cost to the point where its handed out with condoms or available alongside condom dispensers? Some of these ideas may work, none of them may work but can we come up with more?

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.

Let us reminisce about the old times for a minute. Back on December 19, 1983, physicians and health departments in the United States have reported a total of 3,000 patients who meet the surveillance definition for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS); Yes 3000. Of the 3,000 patients, 90% were been between 20 and 49 years old. 59% of the cases occurred among whites, 26% among blacks, and 14% among persons of Hispanic origin. Women accounted for 7% of the cases. This was the “good-ol-days” days of the coming epidemic. Even though I wouldn’t dare to wish infection on anyone, I would hope that one day the national levels could be this low or non-existent again.

For a testing facility near you, visit The National HIV/AIDS Testing Resource. Get educated, get tested and take control.