Despite the considerable advancements in the realms of medicine and social awareness, enduring misconceptions regarding HIV/AIDS persist today. HIV/AIDS is perceived by many as a relic of the past, characterized by modern treatment options and primarily affecting homosexual Caucasian males. However, statistical data reveals a more intricate narrative, notably, that gay African American males face a staggering one- in-two odds of contracting HIV/AIDS. The prevalence of HIV infection within the Black community of Richmond is compounded by many factors, including poverty, the elimination of sex ed programs in public schools and the ongoing opioid crisis.
Told through the voices of survivors, caregivers, activists and health care professionals, this project, which was displayed at The Valentine in 2021, offers a distinct perspective on the epidemic in Richmond. The exhibit features photography by Michael Simon with oral histories recorded by Laura Browder and Patricia Herrera.