But He’s a Pastor. He wouldn’t lie about having HIV.

When dating, you should always approach the relationship as if the individual has a STD (sexually transmitted disease). Every time you have sexual intercourse without protection, not knowing anything about the person’s health, you willingly put your life in their hands. Often times we get confused when we are dating. Money and status tends to blind us and we act on emotions alone. Does it really matter who he or she is? One woman had to find out the hard way.

Just recently in Memphis, the news stations ran a story on a local pastor who was charged with a Class C Felony of Criminal Exposure to HIV. Rodney Carr, affiliated minister of The Fellowship of Believers in Christ Church, knowingly spread the disease to his girlfriend whom he did not inform of his condition. She did not find out until after they broke up, when she tested positive for HIV. Now while I understand he should have informed her of his condition, she should have been more careful. She was a married woman seeking counseling for some problems she was having with her husband. Carr being an ordained minister, she trusted him a little more than she should have. While it is true, you should be able to trust ministers, deacons, pastors, etc; let’s be real! We have been hearing for years that some of the biggest whores, liars, manipulators, etc are sitting in the pulpit. You trust them as far as you see them; your trust and faith should be in God alone. Any clergyman who would throw himself at me knowing I am a married woman, whether separated or not, would concern me. That was the first red flag! You committed a sin with a supposed man of God. True enough we all sin, but that was like playing with fire. I curse like a sailor when I’m angry, but no matter how I feel at church, I cannot bring myself to curse. Disrespecting the church in any way, is just file. I understand how it feels to fall in love. You do things that you wouldn’t normally do. However, you have to keep in mind that every action has a consequence, and sometimes those consequences are unbearable. In this situation, Rodney Carr is just dead wrong. His wife cheated on him during a separation and contacted the disease, and brought it back to him. History just repeated itself. She stepped out on her husband and contacted the disease as well. This is really sad, and whether he is locked up or not, he already has a life sentence. I can only pray she did not sleep with her husband afterwards, and pass it to him. I know Rodney Carr, a friend of my family, and he does not look like he has HIV. He dresses nice, drives a nice truck, lives in a nice home, well-mannered, and respectful. Honestly, I did not find out until Thaddeus Matthews exposed him the day prior to the News Channel 3 exposing him. This is a prime example of how we cannot assume that because a person looks clean, they really are.

In the United States, having unprotected anal or vaginal sex mainly spreads HIV and the sharing of needles through drug use with an HIV infected person. African Americans are the racial/ethnic group that is most affected by this disease. The social, economic, and demographic factors that contribute to the numbers include discrimination, income, education, and the geographic region. There are approximately 6.304 people living with HIV in Memphis, and 5,753 with AIDS. This does not include the expected 20% more people who are not aware of their condition. There is no cure for HIV, and if not treated it damages your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to other diseases that causes AIDS.

To protect yourself, always ask for health records. Go to the clinic with your potential sex partner and use protection. HIV can go undetected for years, so you’re never safe. Unless you’re married to that individual, protect yourself by all means. HIV does not have a specific type of person it attacks, and the next person could be you.

If you have been exposed to HIV or are concerned about your status please contact your primary care giver or call the Ryan White Program Provider at 1-877-HIV-KNOW (1-877-448-5669).

Memphis & Inequality

For many years the topic of inequality has been raised, but nothing actually done to change it. It is kind of like a relationship with a significant other. Have you ever sat back and let things happen that you know you were not satisfied with, but you did not want to alter the relationship, so you dealt with it? Memphis and its inequality reminds me of this kind of relationship, particularly when we look at where our money is invested. Recently Memphis City Schools shut down 4 elementary schools in the southwest corner of Memphis, forcing students to walk further, catch the bus, and/or parents to change their schedules and drop the children off at school and pick them up. This hurt many parents and it caused a drastic change in the lives of all of those involved including the students, parents, teachers, and other staff members. Closing down the schools will save about $4.2 million a year, mainly in the salaries of the staff. Imagine being told, as a teacher, that your school will be closed and you will be displaced. You did not have a choice in the decision and nothing you say can affect what is already in affect.

On the other hand, to attract tourists, the City of Memphis gave Bass Pro Shops $30 million to transform the Pyramid into a megastore and resort. While I understand the store will bring jobs to the city, I question whether or not it really costs that much to rebuild that location. Could we have awarded that money to the schools they shut down instead? Tennessee Department of Transportation officials awarded a $109.3 million contract to the reconstruction of the interchange in East Memphis. Repair the roads, but take away the schools. We have so much money to invest, but why not invest it into the education of our future? If this is the result of not having enough money, what will happen if we run out of money again? Do we shut down more schools to compensate for it? We as citizens of Memphis have to be more aggressive when it comes to anything hindering us from moving forward and really growing as a city.

It amazes me how we go to football or basketball games, and we scream for people we do not know. We pay a good amount of money to support the teams, but we are quiet when it really matters. We choose not to vote because we feel our vote will not count. We sit back when it hurts the worst but we get mad at the decisions others make for us when we had an opportunity to select who we wanted in office. Inequality is very well alive in Memphis. The question I raise is, what can we do to make inequality in Memphis a thing of the past?

We must come together and create a firm foundation for our city. Focus on what’s more important to our future. If you take away the things that mean the most to the citizens of Memphis, you run them out or cause the city to crumble. We need to invest to into our people and reach out to those who need help the most.