You might not have heard much about Mykki Blanco before, but it’s quite possible that you’ve heard his name in more recent days after he made the decision to come out to his fans (and the entire world) about his HIV positive status.
In an interview with HIV Plus Magazine, the rapper says that he came out via Facebook in the heat of the moment.
“I did it on this whole emotional whim,” Blanco says of his coming-out. “But I think afterwards, when Newsweek and Time magazine — who have never heard of me before — are writing about it, I’m like, ‘Oh, wait, maybe it’s been a while since someone’s done this.’”
The 40-year old rapper says that his decision to reveal his status was out of loyalty to his fans.
“How sh*tty and how deceived would they feel if, 20 years from now, they found out I was HIV-positive but I was too afraid of the stigma to come out about it?” he asks. “What kind of fraud would I have been to all the people that supported me? All the people that are trans and positive? Who are gay and positive? Who have supported me and bought my music and come to my shows? I couldn’t be honest with myself enough, to love myself enough, [so] that self-love could then be encouragement or inspiration to them? No, no, no. Honestly, truthfully, I think I have too much integrity for that.”
Blanco says that he thought the world was over when he received the news, but admits he wasn’t particularly shocked, due to the fact that he had engaged in lots of high-risk sexual activity. The artist attributes his behavior to abuse he suffered as a young child. Blanco says he began to feel “feelings of low self-worth,” of “never being good enough,” and a “sense of abandonment.” He also claims he sought “emotional love through physical love.”
However, ironically, after divulging his status, the rapper says he feels better than ever.
“I actually feel like a good person. And I don’t think I had felt like a good person in a really long time.”
I think Mykki is super brave for sharing his story, and I’m glad he did. But I want to point out that HIV is not just a gay man’s disease, or just for people who engage in “high-risk” behaviors. HIV is very real, and ANYONE can be affected by it.
Nearly 37 million people are living with HIV. 2.6 million are under the age of 15. Every day about 5,600 people contract HIV—more than 230 every hour.
Please, get tested. HIV is becoming increasingly more treatable. Meet Dr. Robert Gallo–
Via Huffington Post:
Now, 31 years later, his team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology is beginning human trials this month on a potentially revolutionary HIV vaccine.
While many other vaccines target specific strains of HIV, the treatment that the institute has developed takes a different approach. It attempts to block the virus before it can invade the body’s T-cells (a central component of the body’s immune system) and mutate, at which point it becomes invisible to the body’s immune system and much harder to treat. Should it prove successful, this vaccine would offer protection against a large class of viruses collectively known as “HIV-1.”
People should be tested for HIV every 6 months. If you haven’t gone in the last 6 months, get to your nearest clinic! And one last thing–HIV is no longer the death sentence it was back in the 80’s. Thankfully, we know a lot more about the virus today. Let’s get rid of the stigma associated with the disease and focus on the people who are affected!