Mazzoni Center‘s The Real Impact Project (TRIP), an empowering, health-first campaign for men of color who have sex with men, and trans women of color, is hosting a “Soulful Testing” event at Mazzoni’s Center City testing hub, the Washington West Project.
Why “soulful,” you ask? Besides the obvious soul-boosting perks that come with knowing your status (there will be rapid HIV-testing on site), guests can dig in to a spread of home-cooked soul food, then take in a screening of gay web series Free Fall. The show is a crime drama by Band of Artists that follows three black roommates as they navigate their sexuality among the backdrop of Atlanta’s “dark street life.”
Soulful Testing is the first of what TRIP organizers hope will be a series of bi-monthly social events aimed at building community and encouraging regular testing, something Mazzoni’s Elisabeth Flynn tells me is especially crucial for the group TRIP serves: “CDC and local data tell us that men of color who have sex with men are infected at highly disproportionate rates, with young men of color (ages 13-24) being at the highest risk. For example in 2010, African Americans accounted for an estimated 44 percent of all new HIV infections among adults and adolescents, despite representing only 14 percent of the U.S. population. That’s why it’s so important for us to engage these populations with the tools and information to stay healthy.”