Editor's Note: My Thoughts on the New Issue of HIV Plus
Why are black gay men still getting HIV at alarming rates? We investigate.
I spent a year studying at Xavier University, the only predominantly black Catholic college in America. What I learned there could fill up this whole issue, but one thing that struck me the most was the economic and health disparities between African-American students at Xavier and the predominantly white students at Tulane University — a school I also attended that's just a couple of miles across town in New Orleans. Kids at Tulane just had better access to health care.
So I'm not surprised but am always saddened to see how much HIV has ravaged black communities, especially young gay or bi men. But I was surprised to discover the disparities that lead to those increasing HIV infections are marked not just by the usual mix of factors (economics, racism, homophobia) but also by the size of the population in which gay and bisexual African-American men are dating in. Our editorial director, Lucas Grindley, investigates this issue in his article, "A Perfect Storm," on page 28.
We continue looking at African-American issues from a decidedly lighter side as well, in two features on women: in "Everything You Need To Know Before You're Expecting," on page 31, Michelle Garcia and I offer tips on having a healthy pregnancy (and HIV-negative babies) even if you're positive; and on page 25 our "Black Woman's Guide to Dating With HIV" is a bit of a ladies' FAQ, like when to disclose to a date, what to do if the condom breaks, and what to tell his kids if you're lucky enough to hook up with a single dad.
There's plenty of other good stuff here, including our interview with the very dreamy actor Jared Leto. I think the film, Dallas Buyers Club, in which he plays a transgender woman with HIV, is one of the best AIDS films ever made, in part because of his star turn. Let me know if you're crushed out too. — Diane Anderson-Minshall