Gwendolyn D. Clemons, Chief Executive Officer, PRC, MBA, MSM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LOCAL MEMPHIS, TN HIV AND LGBTQ ADVOCACY GROUP RELATIONSHIP UNLEASHED IS AMONG THOSE ON LIL NAS X’S “BABY REGISTRY” CONNECTING SONGS ON HIS NEW ALBUM, LAUNCHING TODAY, TO GROUPS WORKING TO DEFEAT HIV STIGMA IN THE U.S. SOUTH.
[September 17, 2021] – Today musical artist Lil Nas X is releasing his new album “Montero” and asking fans to donate to HIV and LGBTQ advocacy groups. Relationship Unleashed (RUNL) from Memphis, TNis among those included on Lil Nas X’s “baby registry” connected to the song “Scoop (featuring Doja Cat).” To celebrate the “birth” of his new album, rapper and LGBTQ+ icon Lil Nas X created a portal where fans can donate money to each nonprofit groups based on the track!
Relationship Unleashed is among 13 Gilead COMPASS Initiative® organizations to be included on the registry. The full list of songs and groups is here. Lil Nas X also featured Mardrequs Harris of the Southern AIDS Coalition, a COMPASS Coordinating Center, during his performance at the MTV VMAs last Sunday night. Mardrequs wore the number 433,816 in red, representing the universal color of support for HIV awareness and the number of people living with HIV in the U.S. South as of 2015, which has increased substantially over the years.
The mission of Relationship Unleashed is to fight inequality through comprehensive educational services for the Black LGBTQ Community and people living with HIV/AIDS. It was founded in November 2014 and serves our local community with the purpose of creating social, cultural and professional equity for the Tri-State area of TN, AR and MS. Relationship Unleashed provides services for Harm Reduction Awareness, Faith and HIV Campaigns, Mental Health Awareness, HIV/AIDS, Trauma-Informed Care, Behavioral Modification, Health Services Referrals, Peer-to-Peer Support Groups for the Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Community, and Black Cisgender Women Living Positively with HIV.
Gwendolyn Clemons, Chief Executive Officer of Relationship Unleashed, shared her appreciation for the inclusion of RUNL on the registry: “Being included on Lil Nas X’s registry is an invaluable opportunity for our work to raise awareness about HIV prevention and treatment in the LGBTQ Community. The funds his fans are donating will accelerate our nonprofit’s plan to defeat the stigma that drives new infections in our community. We are humbled and inspired by Lil Nas X for using his platform to raise HIV awareness, and are hopeful that other artists will follow his lead to advocate social and cultural change for the LGBTQ community.”
The Gilead COMPASS Initiative® has helped prepare nearly 14,000 people across the U.S. South to become better advocates by combating HIV stigma and educating communities across the region. COMPASS focuses on providing concentrated investments in the region to reduce HIV-related health disparities, build awareness, advance education and reduce stigma.
Relationship Unleashed is also asking media to share key facts to help defeat the stigma driving new infections:
- HIV Is a Social Justice and Racial Justice Issue: Black Americans account for more HIV diagnoses (43%) and people living with HIV (42%) than any other racial and ethnic group in the U.S. Black Americans are vulnerable to HIV because of structural barriers, steeped in racist and anti-Black policies and practices, to resources like healthcare, education, employment and housing. The three groups most affected by HIV are Black gay men, Black cisgender women and transgender women of color.
- HIV Treatment Works, U=U: People living with HIV, when on effective treatment, live long and healthy lives and cannot sexually transmit HIV, according to the CDC. When someone living with HIV receives effective treatment and follows regimens prescribed by their doctor, HIV becomes undetectable when tested. When HIV is undetectable, it is untransmittable: U=U (#UequalsU).
- HIV Prevention Works: HIV testing should be a part of regular medical screenings. The CDC recommends that every person aged 13-64 should receive an HIV test. When a person takes a test and receives an HIV diagnosis, they can be linked to care immediately to protect their own health and prevent passing on HIV to others. Medications like PrEP (a daily pill to prevent HIV) are 99% effective at preventing HIV when taken as prescribed for people who do not have HIV.
- Faith-based HIV Stigma Hurts, and Spreads the Disease: With more than 10,000 congregations having members living with HIV, it is important for faith communities to take leadership in addressing HIV stigma. Shaming people for living with HIV, or for being on medication to prevent HIV, stops people from seeking the care they need and leads undiagnosed people to pass on the virus.
Additional research or interviews are available from Dr. Davin D. Clemons, Chief Financial Officer, or Gwendolyn D. Clemons, Chief Executive Officer, both Co-Founders of Relationship Unleashed.
Relationship Unleashed was founded in Memphis, TN in 2014 by two passionate community leaders, Dr. Davin D. Clemons and his mother Gwendolyn D. Clemons, PRC, MBA, MSM. The vision of Relationship Unleashed is to make life better and more fulfilling by centering programming that brings awareness to healthy relationships, devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, and reducing domestic violence while promoting meaningful messages and faith-based initiatives about wellness, mental health, trauma-informed care, harm reduction and peer-to-peer support for the LGBTQ and Gender Non-Conforming community.