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He was headed to a small town 90 miles east of the city to visit Jordon, an H. Sturdevant met the young man in 2009 and took him in; he later helped him deal with his H. His arms were marked with scars from hospital visits and IVs. He smiled slightly when he saw Sturdevant, dimples folding into his hollow cheeks. He wasn’t accustomed to being sick and had tested negative for H. In 2010, the Obama administration unveiled the first National H. V./AIDS Strategy, an ambitious plan that prioritized government research and resources to so-called key populations, including black men and women, gay and bisexual men, transgender women and people living in the South. “What we have been trying to do is ensure that we’re having the greatest effect with the resources we’re provided.”Few believe there is the kind of energy, leadership, money and political will in the current political climate to fix the situation in the community that has fallen through the cracks for so long. The congressional fight over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and the president’s declarations that “Obamacare is dead,” have conjured a disastrous return to even more alarming conditions, like waiting lists for medication. medication ballooned to over 9,000 people, mostly poor black and brown men in Southern states.“The key to ending the AIDS epidemic requires people to have either therapeutic or preventive treatments, so repealing the A. “For the most vulnerable, do we end up back in a time when people had only emergency care or no care and were literally dying on the streets? In 2006, I attended the International AIDS Conference in Toronto with a delegation of black journalists, civil rights leaders, government officials, politicians and celebrities, including the singer Sheryl Lee Ralph, Representatives Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, the Rev. We ask that you bring more people in that need somebody to talk to. That need the understanding.”As the men settled into their seats, Sturdevant asked them to go around and “check in.” Jermerious Buckley, watchful behind black rectangular glasses, with no sign of the makeup and colorful pumps he wore on weekends at Metro, told the group, “I’m doing a whole lot better.” Last year, he said, “Daddy,” as he called Sturdevant, had pulled him back from the dead, after he had shrunk to 85 pounds, his arms covered with Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, his kidneys failing. News outlets and social-media accounts shared a photo of him in his clerical robe, holding a sign that read: “Marriage is one man and one woman.Annie and I are more in love with each other every day...:)""Thank you so much for making the pink sofa website.Sturdevant, 52, has racked up nearly 300,000 miles driving in loops and widening circles around Jackson in his improvised role of visiting nurse, motivational coach and father figure to a growing number of young gay men and transgender women suffering from H. Negotiating a maze of unpaved roads in Jackson in the company car, a 13-year-old Ford Expedition with cracked seats and chipped paint, he stopped to drop off H. “Knucklehead,” Sturdevant whispered, as the teenager slammed the door. Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, the country’s poorest state, is best known for blues, barbecue and “The Help.” It also has the nation’s highest rate — 40 percent — of gay and bisexual men living with H. “The Bible supposedly said you’re going straight to hell, automatically, there’s no forgiveness. There were several times I wanted to get sick and die. When his partner died the following year, he let the disease consume him. History marks the beginning of the American AIDS epidemic as June 5, 1981, when an issue of the C. C.’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report — the authoritative voice of the agency — highlighted five cases of pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) in previously healthy men in Los Angeles. is repealed, Gipson said, “it just means that the entire country becomes Mississippi.”For nearly two decades, the United States has focused money and attention on the H. In 2003, she was a co-author of legislation that led to the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (Pepfar). In this and other studies, Millett and his colleagues found that gay black men engage in risky sexual practices no more frequently, are as consistent about condom use and have fewer sex partners than their nonblack peers. King, an author and self-proclaimed sex educator whom I interviewed in 2001. educators at an AIDS conference in Washington: “I sleep with men, but I am not bisexual, and I am certainly not gay. Sturdevant is a project coordinator at My Brother’s Keeper, a local social-services nonprofit. After a while a young man emerged, shirtless, shrugging off sleep. Sturdevant handed him the package, shook his hand and told him to “stay out of trouble.”Sturdevant drove on another 15 minutes to pick up Marq (a shortened version of his name to protect his privacy), a teenager who was still reeling from the H. He looked up briefly when Sturdevant told him, “You’ve come a long way. In Jackson, a small city of just over 170,000, half a dozen black gay or bisexual men receive the shock of a diagnosis every month, and more than 3,600 people, the majority of them black men, live with the virus. who don’t know they have been infected, which means they are not engaged in lifesaving treatment and care — and are at risk of infecting others. as an underlying cause, with the highest death rates in Mississippi and Louisiana. Sturdevant, born and raised in Metcalfe, a tiny Mississippi Delta town of about 1,000, understands all too well the fear, stigma and isolation that can come with being a black gay man in the South. “I just don’t know how everything got so bad.”Given the advances in research, information and treatment, it seems inconceivable that someone living with the virus today, like Jordon, could look as if he had stepped out of the early years of the epidemic. Community organizations became targets of anti-gay crusades, subjected to intense scrutiny, including exhaustive audits, by federal agencies. Most scientists now believe that risk of contracting H. But if you are in a community, like Jackson, where a high percentage of gay and bisexual men are infected with H. This explanation of “viral load” helps dispel the stubbornly held notion that gay and bisexual black men have more sex than other men, a false perception embedded in the American sexual imagination and fueled by stereotypes of black men as hypersexual Mandingos dating back to slavery.“Black men are not just out here having unprotected sex willy-nilly; the science disproves that,” said Terrance Moore, deputy executive director of the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors in Washington.