Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-11-18
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



AIDS: Black Gay Men's Caucus responds to rise in AIDS cases in young men
by Erica Demarest

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

In response to alarming new data that reveals young Black men who have sex with men are significantly more likely to contract HIV than their peers, the Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus ( CBGMC ) hosted "Conversations: A Discussion on the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the impact for Black Gay/Bisexual Men in Chicago" Aug. 11.

On Aug. 3, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control announced that HIV cases among young Black men ( ages 13-29 ) who have sex with men rose by 48 percent between 2006 and 2009. Similarly, records from the Chicago Department of Public Health indicate new HIV cases among young gay Black men ( 13-29 ) in Chicago rose by 62 percent between 2005 and 2008.

"At a time where we've seen advances in scientific technology that help to reduce both the spread and the mortality of HIV, we are still seeing Black men who have sex with men become infected and die more than our white and Latino counterparts," said Keith Green, director of federal affairs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) and co-chair of the CBGMC.

As the sun began to set on a beautiful Thursday night, a group of about 75 health professionals, city officials, school teachers and activists gathered in a spacious meeting room in the Gary Comer Youth Center on Chicago's South Side.

While attendees enjoyed a complimentary dinner, Dr. John Schneider, assistant professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of Chicago, articulated factors that could be contributing to the high rates. Chief among them: unemployment, substance use, poor sex education, mental health issues and a lack of accessible care.

"We don't have really good services on the South Side for anal and penile care," Schneider said. "We need to have providers make those services available ,,, and train the front staff to be culturally competent and know how to engage somebody who may be very sensitive about either their appearance or their HIV status."

Schneider stressed the need for stable youth centers like Gary Comer and said that while many community groups do good work, funding is always a concern. "Howard Brown can have a problem," he said, "and all the donors step up and fund them. If a small group on the South Side has a problem, they lose their funding and they're gone."

He noted that when youth use alcohol or drugs before sex, they're significantly less likely to use condoms, and that social use of marijuana is common. Through his clinic work on the South Side, Schneider said he's seen many young adults who have very poor grasps of basic sex and health functions.

"What's tragic is that sex education in Chicago public schools has been left up to teachers," he said. "There's no standard procedure. You know, if I can fit it into my math class—eight condoms plus six condoms equals 14 condoms—that's my sex education. There really needs to be good sex education and HIV prevention education."

Another common problem: Many HIV-positive men don't take their medications as prescribed. Some feel they're young and invincible; some don't want to deal with a daily reminder of the disease; others lack access; and still others simply slack off.

"We really need to get people who are infected and have virus in their body on medicine," Schneider said. "Fundamentally, that's it."

After Schneider's presentation, the audience broke into four small focus groups, each of which contained at least one city health official or doctor—including Chris Brown, assistant commissioner of Public Health for the STI/HIV/AIDS Division of the city of Chicago, and Mildred Williamson, PhD, MSW, HIV/AIDS section chief at the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The groups proceeded to draft lists of suggestions that could help community leaders, healthcare providers and city officials stem the growing epidemic. Working to reduce homophobia in Black communities was a common concern; many said churches needed to be more accepting and social media could be used to spread positive messaging.

Funding was another heavy-hitter. Some group members wondered how they could procure more funding as cuts were being made all around them. Others complained that current funding channels and grant application processes restricted creativity.

"We don't have the collaboration we need," said Veronica Brown, who works in the governor's office. "Most entities are working as an island by themselves for fear that a move of clients means a shift in funds. And so our funds make everybody not work as a group to meet the needs of a person. … We need to stop. It needs to be about addressing the issue and not the money."

To address the dearth of comprehensive sex education in schools, one group advocated launching a Chicago condom campaign similar to the one in New York City, which ran with the slogan "We've got you covered."

Dozens of suggestions were offered during the three-hour event, and city officials eagerly jotted down notes. Brown said he would create a citizen-based commission to continue generating ideas and welcomed people to call him at the Chicago Department of Public Health to join.

David Robertson, 27, a prevention specialist at the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, said he loved the ideas he heard but thought the event was flawed. Though it aimed to address a problem faced by young Black queer men aged 13-29, very few were in the audience.

"I'm disappointed," Robertson said. He stressed that if youth were brought into the discussion and treated as equals, then "we wouldn't have all these attitudes, arguments, debates. This in here is an implosion. There's an explosion going on outside. [ Youth ] should be in here. Period."

"There's no faith in my generation," he continued. "We have innovative ways, we have a connection. Have a little faith. … We're not going to steer you wrong. We want to make sure [ these young people ] are going to be our doctors to take care of us. We want to help them, trust me."

Green announced that the CBGMC would hold a second event that focused exclusively on fostering youth voices and creating youth-led solutions. No date has been set.

A list of ideas generated at the Aug. 11 event will be posted at:

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Larry Kramer's pivotal call-to-action honored in solo exhibition at Center 2015-11-20
AFC holds annual meeting, announces new strategic plan 2015-11-17
ViiV Healthcare holds Couch Talk 2015-11-17
Following Charlie Sheen interview, GLAAD shares statement, HIV & AIDS guide 2015-11-17
Chicagoans among POZ Magazine 100 for 2015 2015-11-16
NUNN ON ONE Linda Gray talks, AIDS activism and playing a trans role 2015-11-10
FDA approves new HIV drug 2015-11-08
AFC softball couple on relationship, work and PrEP awareness 2015-11-08
Positively Aware marks 25 years with MBC event 2015-11-04
Proud to Run 2016 now accepting beneficiary applications 2015-11-04
Clinician talks Haitian roots at Black caucus event 2015-11-03
Northalsted Business Alliance's Ruby Red Relay to benefit AIDS Fdn, Out in Open Sleep Out 2015-10-28
AFC partners with CBGMC, Taskforce 2015-10-27
Positively Aware to mark 25th year 2015-10-21
Ellen Burstyn on working with Personal PAC 2015-10-21
Stars join GLAAD, E. Taylor AIDS Foundation in call for reinvigorated AIDS fight 2015-10-20
National day of action addresses violence against women living with HIV 2015-10-16
LETTER: Latinos and HIV, breaking the silence and shame 2015-10-14
Oct. 15 is Nat'l Latino AIDS Awareness Day 2015-10-14
HIV, day to day: The truth about consequences 2015-10-14
Upcoming events: Positively Aware event; Mexican HIV/AIDS campaign; Project& 2015-10-14
IMPACT seeks persons for HIV video 2015-10-06
Webinar focuses on Blacks and HIV 2015-10-06
amfAR releases report on HIV programs for drug users 2015-10-06
PrEP forum examines getting more physicians on board 2015-10-04
GMHC welcomes W.H.O.'s guidelines on antiretroviral therapy and PrEP 2015-09-30
HIV/AIDS Advocates: PrEP controversy makes job difficult 2015-09-30
Performance artist Karen Finley talks AIDS, pope, Planned Parenthood 2015-09-30
Tammy Baldwin introduces bill to enhance access to HIV/AIDS care 2015-09-29
Lambda launches "Know Your Rights" hub for people living with HIV 2015-09-29
Thousands at Chicago AIDS Run & Walk 2015-09-26
Upcoming: AIDS Run & Walk; Branden James; a-ha; Halloween 2015-09-23
Season of Concern celebrates Biscotto-Miller Fund's 30th 2015-09-23
Dancing for Life 2015-09-23
Sloan to step down from Chicago House post in 2016 2015-09-16
Positively Aware and TPAN call for all to participate in A Day with HIV 2015-09-12
Open Door observes National HIV/AIDS and aging awareness day 2015-09-11
Windy City Times survey of LGBT and AIDS organizations 2015-09-09
Upcoming in sports: AIDS Run & Walk; Chicago Sky; Race Judicata 2015-09-09
Protesters call on Kirk, Durbin to commit to HIV/AIDS support 2015-09-06

Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.