HIV Awareness Billboard Accused Of Presenting Gay Black Men As “Acceptable”

GayBlackMenBillboardA billboard designed to raise HIV/AIDS awareness in Dallas, Texas has come under scrutiny for featuring a black couple. The billboard is part of the Dallas Is Greater Than AIDS campaign but according to Councilwoman Vonceil Jones-Hill, it’s promoting homosexuality among black men.

In an email to Dallas’ Fox 4,  Jones-Hill wrote that the billboard has several messages:

– presenting African American men who are homosexuals as acceptable
– engaging in such conduct presents health risks
– feel free to continue what you are doing but protect your health.

Dallas County has the highest HIV infection rate in all of Texas, so for Health and Human Services Director Zach Thompson, there is only one message. “The message is: among African American men who have sex with men the rate of HIV new cases is at an epidemic proportion,” Thompson said.

In Dallas County, 49% of all new HIV infections are among African Americans. Nationwide, the numbers don’t look much better:

  • Although Black Americans represent only 12% of the U.S. population,they accounted for 44% of new HIV infections in 2010.
  • The rate of new HIV infections per 100,000 among Black adults/adolescents (68.9) was nearly 8 times that of whites (8.7) and more than twice that of Latinos (27.5) in 2010. The rate for Black men (103.6) was the highest of any group, more than twice that of Latino men (45.5), the 2nd highest group. Black women (38.1) had the 3rd highest rate overall, and the highest among women.
  • HIV was the 4th leading cause of death for both Black men and Black women, ages 25-44, in 2009, ranking higher than for their respective counterparts in any other racial/ethnic group

Featuring a gay black couple on a billboard in Texas was bound to stir some controversy, but that’s exactly what makes it so effective. Visibility is a key factor in raising awareness so Councilwoman Jones-Hill is just going to have to accept that.

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  • andy_d

    Good thing he’s not wearing a yarmulke or tallis. But 2 outta 3 ain’t bad. :)

  • RLS

    I swear, reading gay media you would think that:

    #1 – Black gays are the only ones who catch HIV

    #2 – Black gays do nothing in the gay community but catch and spread HIV

  • QJ201

    This is the catch 22 of public health.

    We HAVE to publicize that among MSM/Gay/Bi men, Black men, especially young black men have high rates of HIV as way to try to get men to protect themselves.

    The catch is that this same publicity…leads to thoughts such as yours…as well as non-black men saying…well “not talking to me, not my problem” which is why we have white gay men in the 40s getting infected after years and years of being negative.

  • Taliaferro

    RLS – I have been HIV+ since 1984. During those nearly 30 years, I have seen the gay community react to news that HIV is still with us and still a great problem in many different ways. In some ways, our reaction is no better than that of the dominant straight community. ANY attempt to publicize the continued rise of HIV infection among ANY group within society is to be applauded. The article states quite clearly that 49% – nearly half – of all new HIV infections occur among African American males, even though they represent only 12% of the total American population. Your comments remind me of the loathsome attitudes from the early days of the epidemic. “Only fags and drug users get HIV.” Have we come such a tiny distance that you must fault an article stating facts? I remember well when the African American community refused to believe HIV would occur among its people. Yet we have seen worldwide the ravages of this disease among ALL people. What is wrong with stating the obvious? Nowhere does the article suggest that the male African American community is being singled out as the only group vulnerable to spreading HIV.

  • tazz602

    If they didn’t show Black men they would have been criticized for ignoring the rising HIV+ rates among African Americans, they can’t win for losing. It is Texas mind you – some kind of crap is going to spew from there.

  • Tackle

    @ I co-signed that with you. And I call BS on these stats. And people need to research to see how they are done. I find these stats to be flawed and NOT accurate at all. I don’t believe you need to lie and overexaggerate and twist stats and numbers. 44% of new infections in 2010 and it’s 2013 now. It comes to 44% because STD infomation is gathered from poor areas and government funded health clinics where MORE Blacks are likely to go.
    8 times the rate of White men? Doubt that. How can that be even possible considering that White GLBT community outnumber the Black GLBT by something like 7 to 1 ratio? And when this so-called epidemic started in the US, it started of being and with 99% White men in NY. SF and LA. Most White gays have sex with other White gays. White gays tend on avrage to have a higher number of sexual partners then Black gays. Not less likely to not use condoms. At Whites being at a 7 to 1 ratio, most likely have more Bottoms. And seem to have more of a fascination with breeding & seeding. (103.6) higher then ANY group?? That number is outrages. Blacks gays would have to be someting like 10 times more sexual then any group. Yes awearness should be done, but without the lies and sensationalism. Yes I do believe that HIV is occuring among Blacks. Just not at the numbers being presented…

  • ted72

    Hot Black guys on a bulletin. What’s not to like? HIV or not, they’re hot :)

  • Hansolo

    So what if some straight people think promotes homosexuality. The billboard raises awareness whether black or any other race.

  • QJ201

    @Tackle: you are woefully misinformed and talking out of your ass.

    People love to criticize these reports…often to justify their own unprotected sexual practices.

    FACT: All cases of HIV and AIDS MUST BE REPORTED to the state with demographic information (no names).

    So your argument that the data is biased is utter bullshit.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Time to face reality, Jones-Hill! Where have you been? I hope you’re not going to tell us that loving, black gay men can’t have a deliberate partnership like every other ethnic group, or that they don’t exist?? We wouldn’t believe you anyway!

  • tookietookie

    @Tackle: The new infection rate among blacks doesn’t mean among gay blacks only. In fact, openly gay blacks are usually more conscientious and informed about these matters than their down-low counterparts. Why would black women be at risk at all? Because of unexamined and defensive attitudes among ________ (finish the rest of this sentence, and *hint* the answer is not ‘gays’).

  • mlbumiller

    1. This is based on new HIV Infections; which are reported by all and any healthcare facility/provider to the Public Heath/CDC as required by law.

    2. ALL STDs are reported to local Public Heath as required by law, not just clinics in the poor neighborhoods as you maintaine.

    3. Here is the link to where that stats are taken.

    4. The data for the report isnt done every year. Data from 2011-2012 will more than likely be reported out sometime early 2014 if you look at the reporting history.

  • mlbumiller

    Also, this Council woman needs to get her black ass bitch slapped. She has a concern the sign might be promoting acceptance of gay black men? wtf?????

    Vonciel Jones Hill
    Phone: (214) 670-0777
    Email: [email protected]

  • LubbockGayMale

    And why is it that the only black men I’ve been with sexually turned out to be married and on the DL????? I always play safer, but who’s to say how they behave with other men? And what risks are their wives taking without knowing?

    As for the council person… what happened to representing your constituents? If you’re so sure your district has NO gay black men, then you have NO right to comment on the billboard!

  • LeNair Xavier


    I have been saying this about gay media INCLUDING QUEERTY for the longest. That’s the reason why I don’t believe in statistics. I believe more in what’s I see and hear in the world around me. For statistics is nothing more than data entry, and all you need for incorrect data is natural human error, AND/OR malicious intent to type in false information.

    I was once considering doing a book about online etiquette, which I scrapped. But in my research, I made a profile on a hook-up website for bareback sex. The number of HIV+ Whites on these sites is make these statistics laughable ( that is, if HIV could be a laughing matter). What’s even worse and straight up astounding is the overwhelming number of Whites foolish enough to claim that they’re HIV- on a barebacking hook-up site, and want “Negative only” playmates. YET every gay media outlet posts statistics like painting Blacks as “disease-prone”.

    As you can see, I may have scrapped the book idea, but I did get some useful information out of my research.

    Now, if there could possibly be any truth to those statistics, racism is STILL the cause of it. For a lot of gay and HIV media dismisses Blacks to the point that they are uneducated on the existence of PrEP and PEP. Also, racism in our society doesn’t give many Blacks the financial means to PrEP and PEP that Whites have, which might explain Whites being more nonchalant about bareback sex on these websites.

  • Tackle

    @QJ201: You don’t know what you’re talking about. The CDCs own data disproves what uou ate saying. You say that all cases of HIV & AIDD must be reported. Big problem with that because the CDC only collects data & stats from 18 states and two cities. There is a BIG difference from what’s being reported and what the VDC chooses to take. @tookietookie: cute name. But I don’t believe in the DL. That is nothing more then closeted bi-sexual behavior. Since the White GLBT folks outnumber the Black GLBT, you probably have more so-called DL among Whites
    .A few. Jim Baker. Paul Haggard. Jim McGreevy.PaulCrouch snd Merv Griffth..I refused to be deceived by sensationalism. @mibumiller: thanks for the link. Read it many times. It’s very
    telling and points to what Im saying.The CDC has a history with. Blacks that I’m not happy with or proudof.of. Tuskegge syphilis experenment, in which the CDC wanted to continue until all the men had died. Falsely stating that 48% of Black women had herpes by using 60% of Bla k women. 20% White. And 12% Latin. Now about the stats for the link you gave. Do you see a problem with that. I do. Big time. It says that Blacks make-up 68.9 percent of of HIV infections for 2010.But for some strange reason. That particular stat does not mentioned the number of Whites infected

  • Tackle

    @mibumiller: continued from last post. The link stats says, MSM infected increased by 12% from 26.7% in 2008 to 29.8 in 2010. It goes on to say that MSM account for 63% of all HIV/ AIDS and that males account for 78% of all cases. Doesn’t this contradict the notion that Black men account for the majority of cases considering that out of 12% of the population Black men are around 5‰ and White men out of a population of 73% comes down to about 34% of that population. I can not believe that with these numbers that people would be that gullible. With everyone being sexual and a larger group being even more-so. the numbers contributed to Black men is illogical and patently impossible. Lastly, this is not an attack on White men but rather the false polls and stats. And dpeaking of polls & stats, people need to remember that when you are in power, you can make polls & stats ssy anything you want. I wish the CDC would stop making this about race and more about a illness we ALL need to fight.

  • Joe

    I think that the chick has lost her damned mind … is she serious? I mean this is not going to tun any straight man gay … and truth be told not all black men are straight … furthermore those that are gay weren’t turnt that way … we’re born that way … whether we choose to accept the truth for what it is is indeed a whole nother matter though. She should get over her fantasy that all black men are presumed straight until brainwashed or turnt gay & realized and accept the truth for what it is.

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