DaBaby meets with HIV organisations to learn about stigma


Rapper DaBaby has met with representatives from nine different HIV advocacy groups to learn more about people living with the virus, and how their lives are affected by stigma and discrimination.

The American musician was in a storm of controversy last month after he made a series of derogatory comments about people living with virus during a festival appearance. His comments sparked wide-spread criticism from other entertainers, and DaBaby saw his schedule fill up with free time after multiple festivals dumped him from their line-ups.

US organisation GLAAD shared that they had set up a virtual meeting with Jonathan “DaBaby” Kirk to discuss HIV facts and share personal stories of living and thriving with HIV. The get-together was in response to an open letter from multiple organisations that encouraged the entertainer to improve his knowledge about HIV and AIDS.

A statement released after their meeting described it as a beneficial interaction.

The open letter to DaBaby was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for. Our goal was to ‘call him in instead of calling him out.’ We believed that if he connected with Black leaders living with HIV that a space for community building and healing could be created. We are encouraged he swiftly answered our call and joined us in a meaningful dialogue and a thoughtful, educational meeting.

During our meeting, DaBaby was genuinely engaged, apologized for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect. We appreciate that he openly and eagerly participated in this forum of Black people living with HIV, which provided him an opportunity to learn and to receive accurate information.

As community leaders who understand the power of conversations as a path to education and evolution, we know that DaBaby received meaningful facts. We were also able to share personal stories about our lives as everyday people who acquired HIV. Now, we wish for him to use his platform to relay that critical information to his fanbase and encourage people to get tested and know their status.

During our meeting, DaBaby acknowledged that the HIV facts we presented- many of which he himself was unaware of- are what every American needs to know: HIV is preventable and when treated properly, cannot be passed on. At a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black communities, celebrities and influencers of all backgrounds have the power to defeat the stigma that fuels the epidemic.

We must all do our part to make the public aware of medication that can prevent HIV and to get more people tested and treated. Together we can end this epidemic. 40 years is far too long. Stigma hurts; prevention, testing, and treatment work.

During the meeting they discussed that in the USA the largest groups affected by HIV are Black Americans, who account for more HIV diagnoses (43%) and people living with HIV (42%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S.

The meeting also covered how current treatments are highly effective in stopping the transmission of HIV, sharing knowledge about U=U, when HIV is undetectable, it is untransmittable, and how important it is for everyone to take a HIV test.

New report shows stigma is still high

The meeting with the trouble-plagued rapper came as a new report from GLAAD and Gilead Sciences highlighted that many people in the USA do not know the current key facts about HIV.

The 2021 State of HIV Stigma Report showed that only 42% of people surveyed were aware that people living with HIV cannot transmit the virus while on proper treatment. While 53% of those taking part in the survey said they would feel uncomfortable interacting with medical professional who had HIV. The level of discomfort were higher in the Midwest and South of the USA.

OIP Staff

Get the facts about living with HIV at the WA AIDS Council

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