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Campaign to raise awareness of HIV testing draws ire of Dallas lawmaker

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DALLAS — A campaign to increase awareness of HIV infections has one Dallas city council member fuming.

Vonciel Jones Hill, who once stated that “all people are created equal under God, but there are acts that God does not bless,” is angry about a billboard promoting public education about HIV.

KDFW-TV

The billboard, visible along one of the city’s major thoroughfares, depicts a black male couple and the message, “Update Your status.” According to Hill, the billboard touts “African American men who engage in homosexual conduct as acceptable.”

But Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson disagrees, and says the billboards are not promoting a lifestyle, but targeting those who are most impacted.

A report released in 2011 by the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department revealed that the new infections rate among the city’s black community had increased to nearly half of all newly reported infections.

The report also noted that county’s rate of HIV infection was the highest in the state of Texas and that the rate was disproportionately higher among African-American men who have sex with men.

Hill, who was first elected in 2007, has had an adversarial relationship with the city’s LGBT population, despite the fact that Dallas’ largest LGBT neighborhood is located in her council district.

Hill has repeatedly refused to attend annual LGBT Pride events, and in 2010 told the Dallas Voice, “I won’t be participating [this year], and based on my present beliefs, I won’t be participating in the future. There’s no reason I should be castigated for that.”

The billboard campaign is co-sponsored by the non-profit organization Greater Than AIDS, which recently helped DCHHS launch the public education campaign Dallas>AIDS.

The organization is also spreading the word to remind citizens that June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, listing educational resources and a means of locating testing sites and care services.

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24 more reader comments:

  1. Poor baby.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:03am
  2. get over it!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:04am
  3. Meanwhile back in Africa – oops, I mean America, people are still stupid and homophobic…

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:06am
  4. Shut up you ole air bag

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:09am
  5. What is wrong with Texas GOP lawmakers?!? Seriously someone please tell me…

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:11am
  6. I cant imagine what Texans are thinking when voting.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:11am
  7. mind your own damn business and grow up you bigoted moron.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:14am
  8. This isn’t a Theocracy you a-hole,so shut your damn mouth with all this,”God doesn’t approve of this” bullcrap because no one cares about what God wants us to do we are human beings our sexuality is our thing.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:19am
  9. Racist.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:39am
  10. Why doesn’t someone tell these ignorant Southern bigots to just shut the fuck up!

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 11:59am
  11. F U Shitkicker’

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:02pm
  12. Well, lets vote her out then.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:35pm
  13. thats not being racist, you need to stop

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:46pm
  14. Whats racist was killing a black man, or was it not racist because he was killed because he was gay???

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:53pm
  15. Thats the south for you…

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:55pm
  16. Being gay is not a life style you can endorse. Right wingers are so ignorant…Either you are gay, or you arent but being an idiot is a choice.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 12:59pm
  17. Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:01pm
  18. I live here and Ms. Hill is always spewing her religion based hate. It is a shame that her district continues to support her. Her lack of information regarding HIV and her dislike for the LGBT community does not help people in her district that are “on the down low”.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:10pm
  19. What is racist is using Africa as the default locale of backwards, homophobic societies.

    I honestly didn’t think I’d have to explain what was problematic with what Ann did there.

    But, sure, there is some homophobia on the continent of Africa. It should be noted that much of it is a product of European impirialism.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:33pm
  20. Great billboard…enough said.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 2:14pm
  21. I’m gonna be assuming that this is going to STILL be something that a lot of people are going to be whining about 10-20 years from now. Is it gonna kill them to let go or something? And such a shame that the guy claimed that “all people are created equal under God” is nothing but a two faced, lying hypocrite.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 2:35pm
  22. I’m gonna be assuming that this is going to STILL be something that a lot of people are going to be whining about 10-20 years from now. Is it gonna kill them to let go or something? And such a shame that the guy claimed that “all people are created equal under God” is nothing but a two faced, lying hypocrite.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 2:35pm
  23. Oh Texas, I hate you.

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3:29pm
  24. Could we move all the big gots from Colorado To Texas I think they would be happier lumped up together. I know I would be happy if they just went away

    Posted on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 3:31pm