Icon for HIV / AIDS


Differential Access to Services

Many Black Durhamites were clustered in Durham’s aging housing projects, facing discrimination on many levels. Critical health agencies refused to provide treatment to those living in public housing, citing “unsafe environments.” For those who did have access to treatment, decades of unethical medical practices left many skeptical of the medical system.

“Meals on Wheels would never go to these neighborhoods… They would go practically anywhere, but they would not go to McDougald Terrace. Period.”

-Trish Bartlett, former social worker

Impoverished people living with HIV/AIDS sometimes acquired housing through the AIDS Community Residence Association (ACRA), a housing model subsidized by Durham County.

Some faith leaders expressed support for homosexual Durhamites, but stigma still dominated many faith congregations. Many HIV-positive individuals felt isolated from their communities due to taboos surrounding homosexuality and intravenous drug use. Church members, therefore, often lacked education about HIV transmission, prevention, and treatment.

“The ministers were not willing to accept that their congregants were in the closet… It was really hard to get them to understand that, yes, there are men that have sex with men, and men that have sex with men and women. I think it was the mid ’90s before the churches were actually willing to accept that their congregations were at risk.”

-Gary Lipscomb, leader, Triangle Coalition for Black Lesbians and Gays &
Black and White Men Together