This week, we are running a very important story critiquing the International AIDS Society’s selection of San Francisco and Oakland to host the 2020 International AIDS Conference. We hope you read about this debate, which is covered here by our friends at Kaiser Health News. While the Black AIDS Institute strongly supports the decision to have the conference in the Bay Area, particularly if large parts of the conference can be held in the East Bay, we think the critics raise some extremely valid issues that need to be addressed.
At the same time, the huge HIV/AIDS health disparities between Black and other racial/ethnic groups that exist in this country are not lost on us. For example, there is no more at-risk population for HIV infection on the planet than young Black American men who have sex with men. As the article points out, African American gay and bisexual men have a 1 in 2 life time risk of HIV infection. We believe there is no better place to highlight those disparities, both domestically and globally, than in the Bay Area.
Also in this issue long-time Black AIDS Institute Board Member Jussie Smollett is on the road raising money for the Black AIDS Institute with his “Sum of My Music” tour. After debuting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and throughout Europe, Jussie opened the U.S. leg of the tour in Oakland and Los Angeles last week. The 17-city tour will culminate in New Orleans on July 7th. For more information about the tour or to buy tickets go to jussiesmollettmusic.com. A portion of every ticket sold benefits the Black AIDS Institute.
We also report on a BTAN Maryland meeting about HIV criminalization in which a variety of community partners came together to learn more about the issue, share resources and hear Robert Suttles, assistant director of the SERO Project, speak about the history of laws that criminalize HIV and how they are wielded today, as well as his personal experience.
We want to congratulate our friends at AIDSVu, who have released the first-ever publicly available data and interactive maps of PrEP use by state. HIV.gov reports on this important milestone and tells you more about the tool and where you can find it.
Earlier this year the Office of HIV/AIDS and Infectious Diseases Policy hosted two webinars from the Hidden Casualties: National Partners’ Response to the Opioid Epidemic & Infectious Diseases series. The webinars discussed the impact of the opioid crisis on infectious diseases and shared examples of what national and local partners are doing to respond. HIV.gov reports.
Yours in the struggle,