by M. Walkerson
April 4, 2018
I was very excited the day I walked into my favorite boutique, where my friend was the owner. The grin on my face was wide for two reasons. One, I was driving a new car, and the other was because finally I had photos to show off my new “honey” who I had been telling her about. For the past two months, I had been dating the most exquisite guy and bragging about him to friends, and anybody else who would listen. I had met him at a coed baby shower, and was so impressed with his looks and personality that I forgot where I parked my car when I left the party. He had me blushing like a teenager by the time he asked for my number.
Therefore, I was shocked when her assistant saw the photos, gasped, handed the pictures back hastily and went to the back of the store. I followed him and asked what was wrong. He kept walking and waving his hands in the air. “Tommy, if you know something about this man, you need to tell me. Why did you look so shocked? I insist on knowing.”
Tommy, who was a transvestite, turned and stared at me from under expensive eyelashes. He pursed his lips before he spoke. “I don’t wish to hurt you, baby girl, but I’ve been on several dates with your new boyfriend. I met him at a gay bar on the East Side, and he throws money around like he’s rich.”
“You’re lying Tommy!” I shouted. This man ain’t gay! You’ve got him mixed up with someone else! Tommy didn’t flinch. “Does he drive a black Audi? Because if he doesn’t, then maybe I AM mistaken!” My heart stopped beating and I couldn’t speak. I felt like I was going to faint, because he did, in fact drive a black Audi. Later that night, when I regained my balance, I confronted him and he confessed he was bi-sexual. Immediately, I went and got an AIDS test, and was literally out of my mind until the results came back negative. I never spoke to him again.
Several months later, I was at the hair shop, and a discussion came up about AIDS and dating men who turned out to be bi-sexual. One woman mentioned her sister had recently been diagnosed with AIDS and was devastated. She said her sister admitted to having unprotected sex and her boyfriend turned out to be bi-sexual. She said, “For many women, the prospect of AIDS is not viewed as something close to home. Unprotected sex is more prevalent than ever and the fear of being alone reigns. Some women prefer the risk over loneliness.” Another client chimed in, “My friend got up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, and caught her boyfriend in the act with her visiting brother who was sleeping on a downstairs couch. She cried for two days, but she didn’t break up with him.” Another woman said she was engaged, and was certain she had finally found her soul mate. However, on the eve of their wedding, he broke down in tears and confessed that he was bi-sexual and had been sleeping with married men for years.
According to the CDC – The Center For Disease Control – February, 2018
African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses, those living with HIV, and those who have ever received an AIDS diagnosis, compared to other races/ethnicities. In 2016, African Americans accounted for 44% of HIV diagnoses, though they comprise 12% of the U.S. population.b
HIV and AIDS Diagnoses
- 17,528 African Americans received an HIV diagnosis in the United States (12,890 men and 4,560 women).
- More than half (58%, 10,223) of African Americans with diagnosed HIV were gay or bisexual men.d
- Among African American gay and bisexual men who received an HIV diagnosis, 39% (3,993) were young men aged 25 to 34.
- Forty-seven percent (8,501) of those who received an AIDS diagnosis in the United States were African American.