Dr David Malebranche: Atlanta's HIV/AIDS Epidemic "Like Stepping Back In Time"

ViaAJC.com: Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that if current rates continue, one in two African-American gay and bisexual men will be infected with HIV, the virus that causes it AIDS. If you’re wondering how that could be given the success of lifesaving antiretroviral medication, given the decades of research and education, I get it.

Dr. David Malebranche, an associate professor of medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine who has been working with HIV prevention and treatment for the past 16 years, says there are reasons for this. For one thing, Malebranche is a “same gender loving man” and, at 48, he has had nearly his entire life to consider the cost of loving men.

He’s seen some things. Even so, his re-introduction to Atlanta’s HIV epidemic in 2000 was like stepping back in time. “It was like being in New York 15 years ago, ” Malebranche said recently. “We would hospitalize people for opportunistic infections that people in New York hadn’t seen in years.” And that in many ways, he said, speaks to the essential issue of why black men who have sex with men have long endured the brunt of the epidemic. In this gay rights movement, which coincided with the HIV movement, people forgot that black MSM are in fact, still black men.

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