Atlanta Black Pride 2016: Movement empowers black gay men living with HIV

Atlanta Black Pride has come and gone (at least until next year), but the messages that were emphasized will hopefully continue to have a positive impact on attendees.

One movement is hoping that social media and other Pride festivals will help to empower and educate gay men who are living with HIV.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Johnson & Johnson, set up a tent for their “Positively Fearless” movement during the PureHeat Community Festival at Piedmont Park on Saturday, Sept. 4.

Deondre Moore was on site to tell his story.

Two years ago, a then 19-year-old Moore was diagnosed with HIV on the Sam Houston State University campus in Texas.

Moore said he remembers growing up and being told that HIV was a death sentence, but says his parents have been more than supportive after finding out about his diagnoses.

Moore said his father, a Magic Johnson fan, found relief in the former athlete’s acceptance of his own HIV status and gay son.

“[My father] said, ‘If Magic Johnson can have a gay son, so can I,’” Moore said. “He sort of used the same analogy when he found out that I was positive.”

In addition to talking about HIV with family members, on dates and during seminars on his college campus, Moore has been traveling around the country to give speeches and participate in educational programs.

During his time in Atlanta, Moore said he was hoping to empower some of the people who are affected by HIV and AIDS in metro Atlanta.

Reality TV star Karamo Brown (“The Real World” and “The Next 15”) also attended the community festival on behalf of the “Positively Fearless” movement.

While it was Moore’s first time participating in Atlanta Black Pride, Brown said he’s no stranger to the festivities, especially the community festival.

"You get to see our community at its best [at the Pureheat Community Festival],” he said. “The nighttime events are great but it becomes a nightclub event. This is really making sure that it’s about family and supporting each other, which is what it’s all about.”

Brown says he feels a personal responsibility to ensure that he uses his platform to “talk about how [his] community is being affected the most by HIV”

Brown recently started, a virtual nonprofit organization that creates digital campaigns and virtual messages to "support the self-esteem of gay or bisexual men who are infected or love men infected with HIV."

Moore said he hopes the "Positively Fearless" movement will be prominent at future Black Pride festivals throughout the country and that through using the #PositivelyFearless hashtag and @HIVWisdom Twitter handle, they can keep the conversation going.