The Silent HIV Crisis Sweeping the American South by TONIC

Gay black men are hardest hit by HIV in the American South. TONIC post a short video about some of the hardships that gay black HIV positive men face in Mississippi.

Find TONIC’s video description here:

TONIC (VICE’s new health channel) travels to Jackson, Mississippi, one of the hardest hit Southern cities, to investigate why black gay men are getting diagnosed and falling to a disease that can be managed. We’ll discuss issues tied to systematic racial discrimination, such as low income and poverty, lack of access to adequate health care, limited HIV testing and education and stigma attached to the virus. We’ll meet heroic social workers and researchers struggling to bring HIV+ the care they need, as well as HIV+ men who are speaking out about their disease in hopes of changing the stigmas attached to it.

HIV diagnoses in the United States have generally plummeted since the 1980’s, and treatment strategies are now so effective that some are beginning to talk about the end of the AIDS epidemic. However, for gay black men in America, the chances of getting HIV in a lifetime are still one in two. In some Southern states, the rates of infection for black men who have sex with men rival rates in underdeveloped countries like Botswana. Once diagnosed with HIV, these men are unable to access the medicine, clinical resources and psychological support they need to keep life ­threatening AIDS diagnoses at bay.


Film: Silverlake Life: The View From Here *****

Silverlake Life: The View From Here 

U.S.A. [1993] Documentary.

I watched this documentary years ago while studying in the US for my HIV/AIDS class. At the time they only had the DVD available for watching in the library at the university. I found myself crying my eyes out while sitting and watching this film in the library. It was both beautiful and horrific at the same time. I recommend watching it when in a stable emotional state.


Film: Any Day Now ****

Any Day Now [2012]

A film about a gay couple in the late 70′s that decide to take care of a boy in a time when gays had limited to no equal rights in the United States. The characters are well acted and the plot flows well. I found some of the trial parts in the film hard to watch but was very moved by the ending. Overall a very nice film if you are in the mood for a good drama.

The Rainbow House

Yesterday the United States (U.S.) supreme court made a historic decision. They decided that same-sex marriage should be a right nationwide. The U.S. now joins the likes of Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Ireland (2015), and the country I live in The Netherlands (2001). World wide there are 22 countries that have same-sex Marriage in some form.

I share in the celebration of this historic day however I do wonder at the sudden overwhelming support of certain institutions, for example the White House. The president has never wanted to take a firm stance on the issue of same-sex marriage. Staying on the safe side and leaving it up to the supreme court to decide. Almost 7 years into his presidency Obama has been a disappointment to some in the LGBT community, who have expected his presidency to have caused this moment to have come sooner.

The White House may have tuned into a rainbow house, however this does not take away from the fact that the U.S. still lags behind on many LGBT (especially T) issues. So this is not the end of the fight. This is a step. A historic day for the U.S. that should show that a struggle can take a long time before it yields its fruit. I hope the U.S. can continue down this trend and pick up the pace on LGBT rights issues and not become complacent. Being a beacon of human rights world wide, requires actual human rights nation wide first. Without this, the U.S. (including its leadership and gay rights organizations) will only profile itself as hypocritical.


Film: Test

Test [2013]

A film about living with the fear of testing positive. The story takes place in 1985 San Francisco. The blood test for HIV has just been developed. The main character goes through life fearing the test (or a positive outcome of it) until he finally decides to take it. Overall good performance by the actors, and beautiful dance scenes. [4*s]