Justin's HIV Journal

Friday, October 11, 2013

Justin's HIV Journal: National Coming Out Day

For National Coming Day I've decided to come out as a Black Gay HIV positive man.  Here is the description of the campaign

Here is the site be apart of this campaign:

Also on Twitter tagging @NBGMAC @NMACCommunity and @Stigma_Project
Each year on October 11, we mark National Coming Out Day, an occasion to encourage Black gay, bisexual and Same Gender Loving (SGL) individuals across the country to come out and declare openly who they are and who they love in order to combat the persistent, if diminishing stigma facing this community. Too many men are forced to face the prospect of coming out twice – once about their sexuality and again about their HIV status.  And while we are making significant progress when it comes to homophobia, the stigma around HIV continues to be pervasive and destructive.

For that reason, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has teamed up with the Stigma Project and the National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC) on a new social media campaign called “Come Out Against Stigma,” encouraging the public to take this opportunity to openly proclaim their sexual orientation as well as their HIV status, and spark a dialogue around how each form of stigma perpetuates the other, and impacts our community.

Despite one’s status, HIV is an issue that impacts our entire community.  Those that are negative must struggle their entire lives to remain that way, questioning any mistake and facing the trauma the inevitably accompanies each new HIV test.  Those who are positive not only have to contend with the virus itself, but the social isolation that so often comes with it.  But it doesn’t need to be this way.  Advances in treatment and biomedical research mean that people with HIV who have access to and choose to initiate treatment can live long and healthy lives, while greatly reducing the risk of transmitting the virus to others.  At the same time, negative individuals have more options than ever before to protect their sexual health, including PrEP, PEP and condoms.

“While the decision to live openly about one’s sexual orientation and HIV status is deeply personal and often scary, I am living proof that there is joy, fulfillment and love waiting for those that choose to do so” stated Kali Lindsey, Vice-Chair of the NBGMAC Executive Committee and NMAC Director of Legislative and Public Affairs.  On this National Coming Out Day, I hope you will join us by changing your Facebook and Twitter profile pictures and sharing the campaign with your networks.  Together, we can combat stigma and empower people to live out, live proud, and live HIV neutral.