FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
INCREASE IN NEW HIV INFECTIONS AMONG BLACK GAY/BISEXUAL MEN SETS THE STAGE FOR 7th ANNUAL LOVEFEST CELEBRATION
Event to Bring Awareness to Gay Men’s Health and Well-Being Management
(Chicago, Illinois – August 10, 2011) – The Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC), will host the 7th Annual Lovefest Celebration on Sunday, August 28th from 12p – 8p at Jackson Park (63rd & Cornell Drive). A free event, Lovefest is designed to bring together the African-American LGBT community, more specifically gay and bisexual men, to bring awareness to health and wellness management.
Recently, The U.S. Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that new HIV infections increased by nearly 50% among young African American gay and bisexual men, the sharpest increase among any other group by race, age, or gender. [CDC—HIV Incidence (8/3/11): www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/incidence.htm]
“It’s important that we continue to provide affirming environments where men can have access to health services,” stated Ariq Cabbler, CBGMC Co-Chair. The alarming new data presented by the CDC demonstrates that we [black gay and bisexual men] should not be celebrating but working even harder to stop the rapid spread of HIV in our community.”
Sponsored by Vertex Sciences and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Lovefest will be hosted by well-known female impersonator Ms. Ruff n’ Stuff, feature food vendors, special performances by some of Chicago’s best entertainers, youth performances, card tournaments, volleyball tournaments and a mini-ball competition. The highlight of Lovefest is the Healthy is Sexy (H.I.S) Health Village where event patrons can get rapid testing for HIV/AIDS and other STIs, have access to highly skilled medical professionals and receive vital information to help manage their health.
According to CDC, young gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) ages 13-29 accounted for 44% of new HIV cases among MSM in 2009. An estimated 2,100 young African-American MSM contracted HIV between 2006 and 2009, a 48% increase. Data from the Chicago Department of Public Health indicates that reported HIV cases among young gay African-American men 13-29 rose 62% from 2005-2008, mirroring the national trend.
[CDPH: Fall 2010 HIV Surveillance Report]
“We are in a state of crisis,” says Keith Green, CBGMC Co-Chair. This festival is an opportunity for the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus to communicate to the Black MSM population the importance of taking control of their health and that with our [CBGMC] assistance we can help to decrease these frightening numbers.”
To kick-off the 7th Annual Lovefest Celebration, a reception will take place on Thursday, August 25th at Club Escape, 1530 East 75th Street from 6p – 9p. Refreshments will be provided. To attend, RSVP at CBGMCevents@gmail.
For more information about Lovefest, please contact CBGMC at
About the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC)
The Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC), a nonprofit organization comprised of 21 volunteer members, was established in 2005 to improve the lives and well-being of Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Since its inception, CBGMC has taken strategic action towards accurately identifying the HIV burden among Black MSM in Chicago, understanding the underlying causes of risk and acquisition, and identifying solutions to curb the epidemic in Chicago. CBGMC’s primary goal is to decrease new HIV infections through creative and collaborative programming that promotes HIV testing, education and risk reduction activities.