African, Caribbean and Black

The loss of a good friend

published: October, 22, 2013 Categories // DJ Relentless, African, Caribbean and Black, Arts and Entertainment, Gay Men, Music, Living with HIV, Population Specific

DJ Relentless on his late friend DJ Rick West. “What I do know is that Rick West was a very loving person and a really good friend to me in some of my formative years. His patience and guidance help develop me into the DJ that I am today

The loss of a good friend

On September 29th, while reading some posts on Facebook I learned  that my best friend from 1986 was no longer with us. I am still trying to wrap my head around the death of my friend, Rick West. It's funny how life moves you in different directions. And try as we may, you cannot escape your origins. I grew up in Tampa, Florida. All my life I dreamed of living in a big city. I knew that one day I would find my way to New York City. As an art student at Hillsborough Community College, I would

Cut to fit

published: October, 12, 2013 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Research, Sexual Health, Health, International , Revolving Door, Guest Authors

Major studies support circumcision as prevention in Africa but a small yet vocal group argues the science is flawed. Can circumcision lower U.S. HIV rates, asks a POZ magazine story?

This article by Benjamin Ryan first appeared in POZ magazine here. Circumcision The evidence appeared overwhelming. Dozens of smaller studies conducted from the late 1980s onward suggested that circumcised men in sub-Saharan Africa were at reduced risk of acquiring HIV.  Some of the research had conflicting results, but meta-analyses supported the hypothesis that removing the male foreskin protected against HIV transmission. Eventually, there was enough data to justify three randomized con

Steel Magnolias and a death sentence

published: September, 19, 2013 Categories // DJ Relentless, African, Caribbean and Black, Arts and Entertainment, Gay Men, Movies, Living with HIV, Population Specific

DJ Relentless on the day in 1990 he found out he was HIV-positive, the day he also watched Steel Magnolias – and cried.

Steel Magnolias and a death sentence

Have you ever watched a movie and it brings back a memory so vivid that you relive it all over again every time you watch  it? For example, I can never watch "The Incredibles" without getting angry.  On New Year's Eve 2008 going into 2009, I was engaged to a guy named David. It was one of those odd new years where I didn't have to work, so we decided to stay in. One of my favourite things to do on New Year's Eve is to kiss the man I love at midnight. So, we kissed. And then we started watch

Fearing life with HIV

published: August, 20, 2013 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, Sexual Health, Health, Revolving Door, Guest Authors, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

A policy analyst for LGBT issues confronts his fears about HIV testing. Guest Preston Mitchum on using 'I’m HIV-Negative' as a substitution for "I haven't been tested"

Fearing life with HIV

Hello. My name is Preston, and I am HIV-negative. Typically you would hear this statement from someone elated to discover that they are not HIV-positive. But since I think there is an inherent danger with congratulating and privileging an HIV-negative status, I do not ask for a warm welcome. Instead, I ask for your indulgence of something rather difficult to write: I am a liar. Admitting this is extremely frustrating, not only because I value honesty but because I value myself. So in the most

With my heel on the banana peel towards 50

published: August, 17, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, DJ Relentless, Arts and Entertainment, Music, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

August 17 is the birthday of DJ Relentless (happy birthday, Alphonso!) and he takes the opportunity to look back on a life, half of it HIV-positive, well lived

With my heel on the banana peel towards 50

There was a time when I could not even conceive reaching the age of 46. I remember when I turned 18 and the age of 30 seemed like a million years away. I can remember thinking that 30 was ancient. I was diagnosed  HIV+ at the age of 23. I immediately thought that I would never see 30. So by the time I  reached  30 I was amazed that I was still alive. I was living in New York City, in a serious relationship and my lover at that time took me home to meet his parents in Santa Rosa, California

Looking for the signs

published: July, 15, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Sexual Health, Health, International , Living with HIV, Population Specific

David Phillips was recently in Africa and talks here about what he saw of the signs of HIV – and sex work.

Looking for the signs

Rolling down the major roads between Kenya's cities, I was constantly on the lookout for telltale signs of the past and present of HIV.  The sides of buildings painted with large condom ads.  VCT signage....that's "voluntary counseling and testing" for the uninitiated, and it's advertised everywhere! Treatment is generally doled out in separate facilities, though often without the developed-world standard of care of viral load and CD4 testing. And the faces of modern sex work. That's not t

Florida is not only a vacation destination . . .

published: July, 14, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Current Affairs, International , Legal, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

DJ Relentless with comment on the racism behind the Zimmerman not guilty verdict in Florida

Florida is not only a vacation destination  . . .

I have taken some time to think about the verdict in the Zimmerman trial. And I am sure plenty of people are going to disagree with me with what I am about to say.  Remember when the O.J. Simpson verdict was handed down? I do. I was living in New York City. There were so many people who were upset and others who were cheering. That was an extremely important moment in race relations between Black and White America. I got a phone call from an ex (who happened to be Latino) who wanted to expre

On continuing or discontinuing HIV treatment

published: June, 17, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, As Prevention , Health, Treatment, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

Josh Kruger on the decisions we face about whether to take HIV meds – and why he’s questioning his own choices.

For the better part of a year, I have been writing advocating for those living with HIV to immediately get on medication. After all, in 2013, antiretroviral treatment means little more than taking one pill once a day that, by and large, gives the consumer little to no side effects. And, by taking that pill, he ensures that he suffers none of the silent symptoms of untreated HIV infection, including low-grade inflammation and potential nesting of HIV in his brain or spine leading to AIDS-relate

I’m just not that kind of girl

published: June, 11, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

DJ Relentless on tranny love and how he deals with suitors when he’s Jade Elektra.

I’m just not that kind of girl

It's that wonderful time of the year when some young men's fancies turn to finding the company of lovely beauties. The beauties are fashionable. They love attention and you might even say these gyrls have something extra. I'm talking about the men who are better known as "tranny chasers" and the gyrls are transsexuals or female impersonators. And given the fact that I have a stage persona known as Jade Elektra, I often get what I call "tranny mail". Very forward messages from aggressive young

Blood is thicker than HIV

published: May, 03, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Gay Men, Living with HIV, Population Specific

DJ Relentless reconnects with a divided family – and discovers his father died in 2006. “Would he have embraced me if I had told him that I was HIV+?” he wonders.

Blood is thicker than HIV

Every now and then I catch myself speaking or laughing and I will hear my father’s voice. And as much as I hate it, I can’t deny that I am my father’s son. From the shape of my eyes and nose to the bad varicose veins on my legs….I was definitely made of his genes. And for the past few years I have been thinking about him. Wondering where he is and what he has been doing. Because my father is 17 years older than me, he would be of the generation that would find computers and facebook a

Stigma is a barrier to HIV disclosure

published: April, 06, 2013 Written by // Guest Authors - Revolving Door Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Revolving Door, Guest Authors, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

CAAT researcher Henry Luyombya says stigma can be challenged through education and encouraging people living with HIV to get involved.

Stigma is a barrier to HIV disclosure

This article by Shazia Islam first appeared in The Humber News here.  Fear of stigma is the primary reason why people living with HIV do not disclose their status, a frontline worker said in an interview with Humber News on Monday. Henry Luyombya, (below right), HIV researcher and member of the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment (CAAT), told Humber News that people need to be better educated about HIV in order to challenge the stereotypes. “People are misinformed about the facts on

Quiet moments

published: April, 02, 2013 Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, DJ Relentless, Gay Men, Music, Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Population Specific

DJ Relentless lives a life full of loudness, which is why he penned this appreciation for the quieter moments in life.

Quiet moments

I decided to submit this blog because I am sure there are plenty of you out there who have a friend like this. Someone who can't hear because they are so busy talking….  It's about 3:15 AM on March 25th, 2013. I am scheduled to go back to Toronto today. I am so looking forward to holding my husband when I get home. It's been an interesting trip to NYC. A lot of my friends are going through a lot of personal drama....from health issues to relationship problems. But one in particular was ta

HIV in Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black communities

published: March, 21, 2013 Written by // John McCullagh - Publisher emeritus Categories // African, Caribbean and Black, Features and Interviews, Health, Living with HIV, Population Specific , Sex and Sexuality , John McCullagh

John McCullagh talks on video with Shannon Ryan, the executive director of the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, about HIV prevention and support among Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black communities.

HIV in Toronto’s African, Caribbean and Black communities

Canada’s African, Caribbean and Black (ACB) communities are disproportionately affected by HIV. Large and diverse, they comprise both people born in Canada as well as immigrants and refugees from a broad range of countries, often countries where HIV is endemic. It is also a community where, uniquely, HIV predominantly affects those who are heterosexual.  It was to address the specific needs of these communities that Toronto’s Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) was founded in

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