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Detroit HIV Numbers Reach Crisis Level. Are Detroit Numbers A Look At Our Future?

Todd Heywood, The American Independent, writes a truly scary story about the HIV infect rate numbers currently facing African American in Detroit.

“The risk category of men who have sex with men (MSM) looms large over all other risk categories in Detroit. Those men account for 43 percent of all cases of HIV in Detroit, while an additional four percent of men have the dual risks of needle sharing and being men who have sex with men.

The numbers are even more revealing when viewed through the prism of race. While the U.S. Census reports that 82.7 percent of city residents identify as black, 89 percent of all HIV cases in the city are found in people who identify as black. Black men account for 88 percent of all male HIV cases, while black women account for 91 percent of female cases.”

Shaking our heads is all we can do after reading these two paragraphs.  Many of you know we feel that the real problem behind numbers like Detroit is the inability of the community to come to terms with HIV.  We have argued that until the community takes on the openly hateful rhetoric being preached by the “black church” we will continue to see infection rates grow and grow.

Near the end of the article, we see a quote that picks up on this issue with the “black church”:

“For Lipscomb, another key ingredient in addressing the HIV epidemic is the black church in Detroit. He says many “still believe that gay men deserve to get HIV,” and a result, the church has not fulfilled its usual role in addressing issues within the community. He says he is only aware of two mainstream black churches that are open and affirming of people living with or at risk for HIV, out of “hundreds” of such institutions in the city.

“If a church isn’t welcoming, it leaves a person wondering where they can get help,” he says. “That’s why the black gay community has to strengthen its own faith institutions.””

It is time for an honest discussion within the community about this deadly disease.  Placing blame and preaching hatred is not a solution to this epidemic.  If we are not willing to raise our voices and demand real solutions we will eventually see these types of infection rates in every city in America.  That should be unacceptable to everyone, no matter your religion or sexual preference.

You can read and share Mr. Heywood’s story by following the link.