The Past Is Prologue
In our January/February issue, we interviewed Phill Wilson, founder and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute. The article “Fighting AIDS With Lessons Learned From Black History” rallies African Americans to use their past challenges to overcome the disproportionate rates of HIV/AIDS in their community.
The white gay men who started ACT UP screamed for more to be done to save us all, black and white. Few blacks spoke about HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s. The black dancers/actors of my generation died of AIDS in secrecy and silence. Time to bring back that bumper sticker, “Silence=Death”! Black Death!
We don't have the economic empowerment or family structure our counterparts have, but that doesn't mean we don't have the drive or tenacity. We just don't have anyone grooming us for anything. How does one do more on a national level that will help the cause? This is our fight. Now is our time to fight it or be lost once again.
This is an interesting approach to dealing with HIV/AIDS in the black community. The absolute first thing that must be done is to destigmatize HIV/AIDS. No one wants to talk openly about it. Many people probably won't disclose as long as there is fear and shame.
I enjoyed and appreciated the interview you did with Phill Wilson as well as the tribute to Dr. Robert Scott [a respected HIV/AIDS doctor who worked in California and Africa] in the most recent issue of POZ. This is the kind of cross-cultural, educational dialogue and exchange about HIV/AIDS that should be taking place not only in POZ, but also in the whole United States. I embrace it with open arms.
Professor John Williams
And Baby Makes Two
In “Adoption Issues” (January/February 2010), Ricky Stith shares how he overcame discrimination and stigma as a single, gay, HIV-positive man during the adoption process of his 3-year-old son Keon.
I found Ricky's personal story compelling and truly inspirational! I wasn't open to the prospect of having children until my mortality flashed before me as I was fighting for my life while diagnosed with HIV at the age of 23. Nearly two years later, I am now a civil service employee. Ricky has taken on one of the most significant and rewarding roles a man may have—the role of a father. I applaud his fight and wish Ricky and Keon both the very best! The story has given me motivation to fulfill my dreams.
I am also HIV positive. My wife and I adopted our now 4-year-old daughter through a private agency in 2006. We had to educate the employees and provide notes from my doctors (I also have hemophilia and hepatitis C), but they treated us fairly. The important thing is whether or not you are able to parent a child. Thanks for covering this topic!
The Past Is Prologue