Accepting Our Boys, Uplifting Our Men: Loving Unconditionally to End the Spread of HIV/AIDS

The Huffington Post
Verneda White
Original Article:

By sending the message that our young black gay males are not acceptable, we contribute to our boys, sons, brothers and men accounting for the highest rate of new HIV infections, and reduce the rate of survival among those we call family.

Love and acceptance: Two words that resonate in the hearts and minds of every human being. Both critical to developing one’s wellbeing, self-esteem and social development, love and acceptance are virtues we not only desire to experience but require to feel whole. More specifically and most critically we desire to be loved and accepted by our families. I certainly do. And, I suppose, so does every young black gay male.

Love, Acceptance and HIV

When I think of those I am closest to, I know too many young black gay, or men who have sex with men (MSM), who are HIV positive. These are young black MSM who are my friends, family, and colleagues. Some are living, yet far too many have died of AIDS and HIV-related complications by or before the age of 30. These are young black MSM who battle not only with the virus that causes AIDS, but with the stigma, homophobia, and discrimination that society attaches to who they are as they face a unique set of personal, social, and familial challenges.

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