By Daniel Reynolds
Originally published on Advocate.com June 18 2013 3:21 PM ET
Dallas City Council member Vonciel Jones Hill is objecting to a billboard promoting public education about HIV, according to the Dallas Observer.
In a letter to a local Fox reporter, Hill raised concerns that the ad, which features a visual of two black men embracing along with information on how to locate HIV testing facilities, sends the message that “African American men who engage in homosexual conduct [are] presented as acceptable.”
Hill, who told the Dallas Voice in 2010 that she would never attend a gay Pride parade, has cited religion as past justification for her anti-LGBT stances, stating that “all people are created equal under God, but there are acts that God does not bless.”
Dallas County health director Zachary Thompson, alongside nonprofit organization Greater Than AIDS, recently launched the public education campaign DALLAS>AIDS in response to a report that the county’s rate of HIV infection was the highest in the state. Moreover, the rate was disproportionately higher among African-American men who have sex with men.
"The message is very clear," Thompson told Shaun Rabb, the Fox reporter, in response to Hill's statement. "The message is: Among African American men who have sex with men the rate of HIV new cases is at an epidemic proportion."
Greater Than AIDS has also recently partnered with Alicia Keys to promote awareness of HIV infection among African-American women. Its website, which reminds visitors that June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, offers educational resources and a means of locating testing sites and care services.