Dr. Keith Green has loaned his voice to the fight against HIV for nearly his entire adult life. An established spoken word artist, community journalist, and educator, he has been a frequent contributor to TheBody.com and was the associate editor for Test Positive Aware Network’s publication Positively Aware from 2005 to 2009.
He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Chicago, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago, and director of the Philadelphia African American Leadership Forum.
“It’s imperative that black gay men be present and active in this fight,” argues the activist about why the demographic needs to be part of the discussion around HIV. He consistently speaks to issues that impact black gay men, such as stigma, education, and advocacy.
In his career, Green has led advocacy efforts at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. He’s also a founding member the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus. In 2012, Green was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Through his work on Project PrEPare, Green is thought to have become the first black gay man in the world to become directly involved in the management and implementation of a study focused on the biomedical HIV prevention strategy. A native of Chicago’s southside, he was diagnosed at age 17, and has embraced the journey of living with HIV.
“Each individual situation requires a different internal dialogue, if you will, about the need to disclose,” he reflects. Green sees two essentials being faith and family. “A big part of that support base is spirituality, so tap into whatever spiritual base you are comfortable with and begin to really seek a higher being.”
Family is the other critical element. “My grandfather. My mother. [She] is very influential, even in those ways where I’m like, ‘I’m never going to be like her!’ That’s influential too.”
Green says another person he admires is Dr. David Malebranche a Haitian-American medical doctor working in the field of HIV who teaches at Morehouse School of Medicine. “I’m just smitten by him,” Green raves. “People, period, influence me. Because I am a social worker by profession, I study people, and I’m changed by people.”