28
Jul
09

Washington, D.C., Church Addresses HIV Stigma, Teaches Safe Sex to Black, Gay Congregation

The Washington Post on Sunday featured Washington D.C.,-based Inner Light Ministries, a 16-year-old black community church with about 100 members, where many go “to share their experience of being black and gay, living and loving in a city where HIV and AIDS lurk in epidemic proportions. …” Some members of the congregation, as well as four of its leaders including pastor Bishop Rainey Cheeks are HIV-positive. Cheeks teaches safe sex as a part of his sermons and the church provides condoms to its members. The article also discusses the stigma associated with HIV among gay black men. “Some men are reluctant to reveal their health status to possible partners for fear of being rejected,” according to the Post. “That attitude, Cheeks said, is part of why gay black men in the District are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS. And why he has to keep preaching the message of safe sex,” the article states.

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