Earlier this month, World AIDS Day helped to further enlighten the public on the HIV pandemic plaguing predominantly Black communities throughout the world. Chicago-born rapper Vic Mensa recently shared his thoughts about the matter in a video and article published by The Independent for its AIDSfree campaign.

"That's a double marginalization, you know what I'm saying, to be Black and to be gay," the Roc Nation artist said. 

The 25-year-old noted the parallels between both Chicago's struggle with gun violence and HIV rates in major cities like Atlanta.

“When they spoke to me on the way here about the problems in Atlanta, it made me think about the violence we experience in Chicago and the way that violence is spread,” said Mensa. “And I think there are parallels to the situation here, and people who are at risk not getting the right healthcare and not having the opportunity to heal.”

He argued that more affluent communities such as Manhattan, would not experience both HIV and gun violence epidemics. 

“It would not be happening in Manhattan. It would not fly,” he said.

Despite the reduction in shooting incidents in Chicago this year, Mensa is continuing to push for change in the community. The co-founder and chief ambassador of Save Money Save Life, an organization addressing gun violence and the educational gap in Chicago’s South Side, joined Elton John in Atlanta where they launched the campaign. 

“Today’s medicines not only enable those living with HIV to have full and fulfilling lives but also ensure they cannot pass the virus on to others," Sir Elton said in a joint message. "The challenge is that too many people still do not realize they are at risk, are too afraid of the stigma or are denied the chance of taking an HIV test.”

Blavity recently reported that while HIV transmission has declined nationally, Southern states are seeing increased rates of the disease in low-income communities.

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