The Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus hosted the first in what will be a series of "conversations" in the new year about HIV/AIDS Jan. 8 at the DePaul Center in downtown Chicago. The event was different from past caucus events because organizers focused on reaching members of the area's LGBT community who have not frequented past conferences and forums hosted by the group. "This time we weren't preaching to the choir," the caucus' policy chief, Keith Green, said.
The conversation, attended by approximately 60 people, featured discussions about HIV prevention and testing, the stigma associated with HIV and linkages to care, reducing the number of new infections and HIV transmission among sex workers. Those in attendance floated a host of ideas to address the topics at hand, including decentralizing the gay connection to HIV/AIDS, presenting better depictions of people living with HIV/AIDS and improving ways to reach out to those most in need of testing.
David Dodd, chair of the caucus's public relations arm, told Windy City Times that the group's conversation was important in order to "get a real account of what the issues are that are plaguing Black men who have sex with men in order to create discussions around HIV/AIDS strategies" and to "get information from around the community to help address shaping the city of Chicago's forthcoming HIV/AIDS plan."
The next caucus conversation will take place in the coming months.