DaBaby Meets with 9 HIV-Awareness Organizations, Apologizes Again

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday August 31, 2021
Originally published on August 31, 2021

Rapper DaBaby
Rapper DaBaby  (Source:Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

After requesting a meeting in an open letter to the rapper on Aug. 4, nine HIV-awareness organizations have met with rapper DaBaby to talk with him and educate him after he made controversial comments about people with HIV, Variety reports.

The organizations shared the news via press release and wrote:

"The open letter to DaBaby was our way to extend him the same grace each of us would hope for. Our goal was to 'call him in instead of calling him out.' We believed that if he connected with Black leaders living with HIV that a space for community building and healing could be created."

Sharing details of their meeting with DaBaby, the organizations wrote: "During our meeting, DaBaby was genuinely engaged, apologized for the inaccurate and hurtful comments he made about people living with HIV, and received our personal stories and the truth about HIV and its impact on Black and LGBTQ communities with deep respect."

The meeting reportedly included representatives from Black AIDS Institute, Gilead Sciences COMPASS Initiative Coordinating Centers, GLAAD, National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), The Normal Anomaly Initiative, Positive Women's Network-USA, Prevention Access Campaign (U=U), the Southern AIDS Coalition and the Transinclusive Group.

Leaders shared the following facts with DaBaby and jointly want to share them with his fans:

HIV Is a Social Justice and Racial Justice Issue: Black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses (43%) and people living with HIV (42%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S. Black Americans are vulnerable to HIV because of structural barriers, steeped in racist and anti-Black policies and practices, to resources like healthcare, education, employment and housing. The three groups most affected by HIV are Black gay men, Black cisgender women and transgender women of color.

HIV Treatment Works, U=U: People diagnosed with HIV don't "die in two or three weeks." People living with HIV, when on effective treatment, live long and healthy lives and cannot sexually transmit HIV. When someone living with HIV receives effective treatment and follows regimens prescribed by their doctor, HIV becomes undetectable when tested. When HIV is undetectable, it is untransmittable: U=U (#UequalsU)

HIV Prevention Works: HIV testing should be a part of regular medical screenings.The CDC recommends that every person ages 13-64 receive an HIV test. When a person takes a test and receives an HIV diagnosis, they can be linked to care immediately to protect their own health and prevent passing on HIV to others. When a person takes a test and learns they are HIV negative, they can then make decisions that can protect them from HIV. Medications like PrEP (a daily pill to prevent HIV) are 99% effective at preventing HIV when taken as prescribed for people who do not have HIV.

HIV Is a Chronic Health Condition, Not a Death Sentence: HIV can be prevented, tested, and treated like any chronic disease such as diabetes. It is not a death sentence. People living with HIV and on treatment can be healthy, have children, and not pass on the virus (Undetectable = Untransmittable).

HIV Stigma Hurts, and Spreads the Disease: Shaming people living with HIV or for being on medication to prevent HIV stops people from seeking the care they need and lets undiagnosed people pass on the virus.

"We appreciate that he openly and eagerly participated in this forum of Black people living with HIV, which provided him an opportunity to learn and to receive accurate information," said the organizations.

DaBaby previously apologized for his remarks via Instagram but then later deleted the post directed to the LGBTQ+ community. His apologies come as the rapper lost a number of gigs including the Governors Ball and Lollapalooza.