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HIV Organisations Pen Open Letter to DaBaby After Insensitive Remarks at Rolling Loud

Letter requests a private meeting with the rapper, urges him to be a “powerful and influential voice” in ending the stigma around the virus

"We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities," the letter to the rapper read.

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Eleven organizations dedicated to helping people with HIV issued an open letter to DaBaby following his insensitive remarks about people living with HIV/AIDS at Rolling Loud Miami.

The letter requested DaBaby participate in a private meeting to discuss the facts about HIV, how it’s a preventable and treatable condition, and how he might be able to serve as a long-term advocate for this cause and help end the stigma around HIV.

“We heard your inaccurate and harmful comments at Rolling Loud and have read your Instagram apology,” the letter said. “However, at a time when HIV continues to disproportionately impact Black Americans and queer and transgender people of color, a dialogue is critical. We must address the miseducation about HIV, expressed in your comments, and the impact it has on various communities.”

It continued: “2021 marks the 40th year of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the greatest obstacles in our work to end HIV are the compounded stigmas attached to anti-Blackness, living with HIV, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ attitudes and stereotypes, all of which are fueled by misinformation. It’s fear and stigma that keep people, particularly Black Americans, from accessing HIV prevention or care that White Americans have historically and continue to access more easily. We believe that you now have an opportunity to not just move past this unfortunate incident, but to use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm.”

The letter highlighted several key facts, like that HIV can be prevented with the once-a-day medication PrEP; that effective treatment can suppress HIV to the point where it’s no longer detectable and thus can’t be transmitted; that black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses than any other racial or ethnic group; and that the southern United States in particular lacks quality HIV prevention services and care.

Addressing DaBaby, the letter reads: “You can be a powerful and influential voice, especially across your home base in the South, where the Black community’s needs are notoriously under-represented across every public spectrum. We encourage you to share this information with your fans and followers, and become an agent of truth and change.”

The letter was signed by Arianna’s Center, Black AIDS Institute, GLAAD, the Normal Anomaly Initiative, Prevention Access Campaign, Relationship Unleashed, and leaders from the Gilead COMPASS Initiative including Southern AIDS Coalition, Emory University, the University of Houston, and Wake Forest University.

From Rolling Stone US