Rent Flash MobMarch 18, 2019
Myself, State Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan (D-Bethel, Danbury, Newtown, Redding), and members of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus to highlight the importance of HIV Prevention, with the help of the cast of Rent.
20 years after Rent became a Broadway Hit, Legislators hope to bring back awareness to HIV prevention - especially in minority populations. In Connecticut, Black/African American and Hispanic/LatinX populations are now accounting for a significant rising percentage of the total Conn. HIV population but also the newly diagnosed population.
We are grateful for the cast of Rent for sharing their time and helping us to highlight that HIV prevention and testing continues to be important. While we have seen tremendous progress in the treatment of HIV, increasing prevention is possible. With recent upward trends in the state, I felt it was essential to pass along the message to get tested and stay safe.
Gay and bisexual men or as the CDC defines them – men who have sex with men or MSM – accounted for 19 percent of new infections in 2002, and nearly 50 percent in 2017. Of those men, 12 percent are 29 and under, and 43 percent are Black and Latino.
Rep. Allie-Brennan said “HIV transmission rates are on the rise in communities of color, particularly with young people, and it is urgent that we sound the alarm. Every life is important and prevention is possible when our communities are armed with information and resources."
Shawn Lang, Deputy Director of AIDS Connecticut celebrated the spontaneous performance by the cast of RENT. "I remember losing people to complications due to AIDS. Today, we have medications which, for many, make HIV a chronic manageable disease. In the realm of prevention, we have a robust toolbox full of interventions which include education, outreach, syringe services, HIV counseling and testing, and targeted prevention strategies – including apps and social media. We have come a long way."
While an individual who lives in the United States has a one in 99 chance of contracting an HIV infection in their lifetime; young men ages 13-24 who engage in sexual relationships with other men have a one in five chance of contracting HIV.
For more information on prevention and testing, please visit: