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‘We Are Going to Beat This Thing’
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has claimed more lives than the Vietnam war. Unless the course of HIV in the United States changes, at some point in their lifetime, an estimated 1 in 16 black men and 1 in 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But there are tens of thousands who are unaware of their HIV status.
Recognizing the 26th annual World AIDS Day is an opportunity to unite in the fight against HIV, I spoke with talented singer and speaker, Jamar Rogers. Yes, that Jamar from NBC’s “The Voice.” He was diagnosed with HIV in 2006 and says, “we are going to beat this thing [HIV].”
With so much energy and passion, he continues to inspire others with his personal triumph over a meth addiction and his HIV/AIDS advocacy. He is strong advocate for in-home HIV testing, something he’s passionate about.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV test is a private, and accurate way to test for HIV in your own home. It is the same test preferred by many public health professionals, reducing stigma of going to a public clinic. “I compare it to an at-home pregnancy test, it’s that easy.”
From his days on “The Voice,” Rogers says he was petrified about what people would think about his own personal disclosure. Today he says, “stigma with rapid in-home testing is going to be less versus getting tested in a clinic…plus you can call your own support system when you need to.”
Getting tested for HIV is important for personal peace of mind and obvious health reasons.
The raspy-voiced crooner says a positive HIV test result has an opportunity. That person should know, ” you are going to fight this, know that you will find a way to thrive. But you have to bite the bullet and get tested. For all my black brothers, you come from a long line of kings and warriors. I just encourage my brothers to get tested, know your status, it’ll bring a sense of relief.”
The last word from Jamar Rogers during our interview, he asserted that ‘getting tested is freedom and freedom is never a bad feeling.”
The OraQuick test should only be used to test for HIV, and should not be used for other purposes. If you need to be tested for pregnancy or for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or other infection, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.
Walker Tisdale III is the founder and Executive Editor of Healthyblackmen.org and Executive Director of the Health Institute for Men, a community based non-profit.