Hazardous to your Health

From “Ink from the Pen: A Prison Memoir”

I was personally exposed in a harrowing way to medical paranoia and conspiracy theories around HIV in 2004, during my 9-month stint in prison. Among white inmates, the dominant fear was getting AIDS; among black inmates, there was a general confidence that it was a gay disease, and therefore exclusive to white people. (Most were unconvinced there were any gay black men — and certainly not in prison.) At the same time, almost to a man, these same…



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