Probably as a personal experience as a black same-gender loving man growing up in the 1980s and being a teenager and sexually active, there was no way to get around HIV. HIV was all over the news, um, people were scared, people were dying. So, I think for me, it was one of those things, on a personal level I started to realize like, hey, I could be at risk for this thing. What we’re seeing now with PrEP, in treatment as prevention is nothing short of phenomenal. I think where we have a lot more work to do is with the social structure and looking at a lot of the systemic inequalities that we’re seeing. What I want to remind you guys is that the most important activism is going to be for yourself. Go out, speak for Black Lives Matter, go out, march for same sex rights, and go politic for the advocacy and fair treatment of our transgender and gender nonconforming youth. Go and get the sexual health you deserve. Be empowered, be strong, and be fierce. Take charge of your sexual health because even though the world tells you the opposite, you’re worth it.
David J. Malebranche, MD, MPH, is a clinician-researcher in Atlanta, GA with expertise in the clinical management of HIV and behavioral HIV prevention research with Black men in the United States.
“What I want to remind you is that the most important activism you’re going to do is for yourself. Speak out. Get the sexual health you deserve. Be empowered. Be strong. Be fierce. Because even if the world tells you the opposite, you’re worth it.” – David Malebranche, MD