Love Fest 2014

Annual HIV Event “LoveFest” Cancelled

Government Funding Issues Play a Major Role in Decision

(Chicago, IL – August 11, 2014) Due to unforeseen government funding issues, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC) is disheartened to announce that it will not host its annual HIV testing event, LoveFest, scheduled for Sunday, August 24th.

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As the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus commemorates National Black HIV/AIDS Day on February 7, 2014, we are taking a moment to highlight recent statistics and resources as they relate to Black gay / bisexual / same-gender-loving men.

HIV_Most affected populations


  • There are an estimated 1.1 million persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in the United States.
  • The African American community has the most severe burden of HIV of all racial/ethnic groups in the United States.
  • Compared with other races and ethnicities, African Americans account for a higher proportion of new HIV infections, those living with HIV, and those diagnosed with AIDS (CD4 count below 200).

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Terisa Griffin Performs

CBGMC is pleased to announce that singer/songwriter and 2012 contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” Terisa Griffin will take the stage with a special performance at this year’s Love Fest on Sunday, August 25th in Jackson Park.  Griffin, who is also known for her R&B slow jam-turned-house-music club favorite “Wonderful,”  will also serve as a judge during the “LoveFest Got Talent” competition, an interactive portion of Love Fest that will provide virtually unknown Chicago LGBT talents an opportunity to compete for up to $500.  The competition begins at 3pm.

TG_the voiceIn fall 2012, Terisa was a standout performer on Season 3 of “The Voice.” Her first national exposure was in 2000 on the “Oprah” show, when, during a live performance, Diana Ross pulled Terisa from the background group and handed her the mic to lead the song, “Love Conquers All.”

Terisa has opened for some of the biggest names in music. She has also written, produced and starred in a series of “One Voice, One Woman” shows that pay tribute to classic singers (e.g., Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn) as well as a long list of true R&B divas (e.g., Dinah Washington, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Donna Summer, Phyllis Hyman, and Patti LaBelle).

TG Soulzophrenic coverTerisa has produced three albums: “Songbird,” “I Still Can’t Stop Loving You,” and “My Naked Soul.” The latter CD features the single “Wonderful” which was originally recorded as a popular R&B slow jam, and later remixed by DJ Terry Hunter into a house music version – making it a club favorite. Griffin has also released two new CDs titled Soulzophrenic “Personalities of Soul” and Soulzophrenic “Dance” (available on and


Listen to Terisa Griffin in the club remix of “Wonderful here:


For more information about Love Fest 2013 on August 25th in Chicago’s Jackson Park, visit


Love Fest 2013

Let us know you’re coming by visiting out Facebook Event Page!

Updated 23Aug13


Media Contact:  David Dodd
(773) 501-9230 or


Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus Brings Awareness to Health and Wellness Management for Black Gay and Bisexual Men

And Urges the Community to Get Involved in the Fight For Marriage Equality

Love Fest 2013 (front)

(Chicago, Illinois – July 23, 2013) – Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus (CBGMC) will host the 9th Annual LoveFest Celebration on Sunday, August 25th from 12p – 8p at Jackson Park (63rd & Cornell Drive). A free event, LoveFest is an annual summer “edu-tainment” festival designed to increase awareness of health and wellness management among Black gay and bisexual men. Live entertainment, dancing, health screenings and physical fitness activities will be available for the more than 500 event attendees who participate each year. The entire community is welcome to enjoy the festivities.

This year’s theme is “Love No Limits” – the perfect mantra as the LGBT community continues to fight for marriage equality in the state of Illinois. With the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 struck down, it is imperative to remain steadfast and urge Illinois lawmakers to vote in favor of marriage equality.

“We are in a great moment in time as the country rallies together in support of eliminating marriage inequality,” stated Keith Green, CBGMC Chairman. “The voices of Black gay and bisexual men need to be heard as the passing of marriage equality in Illinois will have a positive impact on the overall health of this population, as individuals will have equal access to obtain health and other benefits that the institution of marriage affords couples,” he continued.

The Healthy is Sexy (HIS) Health Village will return to simulate the ideal “health and wellness visit” for African American gay and bisexual men – offering free screenings for HIV/STIs, hepatitis C, diabetes, obesity and a number of other health issues facing men. Attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of physical activities in the park including volleyball and outdoor boot camp.

“It’s important that we continue to provide positive affirming environments where Black gay and bisexual men can come together and have access to health services,” said Craig Johnson, chair of the CBGMC executive planning commission. “This festival is an opportunity for the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus to communicate to Black gay and bisexual men the importance of taking control of their health and that with our [CBGMC] assistance we can change the overall health landscape for our community.”

At 3pm, the newest component, “LoveFest Got Talent,” will kick off the stage performances. terisa-griffin-my-naked-soul_album coverHosted by Mz. Ruff-n-Stuff, this interactive portion of Love Fest will provide virtually unknown Chicago LGBT talents an opportunity to compete for up to $500. The “LoveFest Got Talent” qualifying event held earlier this month produced the top 5 performers who were voted through by judges and live audience.  Taking the stage with a special performance will be singer/songwriter and 2012 contestant on NBC’s “The Voice,” Terisa Griffin, who will also serve as a judge.  Griffin also known for her R&B slow jam turned club favorite “Wonderful.”  Other talented performing artists at the judges’ table will be Tim’m West, Trina TruLove, Brian Cox, and Antonio King.

At 5pm, CBGMC and Legendary Father Mario Balenciaga will present “Clairvoyant Visions Mini Ball” with categories and awards reflecting “Love No Limits.”  For ball categories, prizes and more details, visit

The 9th Annual LoveFest is possible due to the generous support of the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Department of Public Health, ACCESS Community Health Network, and the Regional Resource Network Program of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.  Additional community partners include AIDS Foundation of Chicago, The Association of Clinical Trials Services, Be The Generation, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health Center,  Illinois Unites for Marriage, March on Springfield for Marriage Equality, Test Positive Aware Network, University of Chicago, and Windy City Times.

For more information about LoveFest on August 25, please contact CBGMC at

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Love Fest 2013 (back)a

PrEPping for Pride

A Doc Chat!

By Margo Bell, MD

Q: Pride is around the corner and I can’t wait! There will be a ton of parties going on and I plan to hit up as many as I can. I keep hearing about this special pill called PrEP , but I’m not sure what it is. Do I take it before sex or afterwards? I mean, does this pill even work?

A: This is a really great question with many layers, so let’s take it step-by-step. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, involves taking a medication before you are exposed to an infection. In the case of HIV, people who are “at-risk” can take certain medications that are used to treat the virus to prevent it from replicating if they are exposed. This can greatly decrease the chance that HI V will take hold and lead to permanent infection. PrEP has been effective in controlled clinical trials but studies are still going on to show how it works in the real world. Taking PrEP is a process that starts with your doctor or medical provider screening you for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), checking your kidney function, and counseling you about the drug you will be taking and safer sex practices. After starting PrEP, you will need to be monitored on an ongoing basis. To increase the likelihood that the drug will work for you, it should be taken exactly as it is prescribed (once a day). The consequences of missing doses include the possibility of becoming infected with HIV and, if you are not being screened on a regular basis, potentially developing resistance to the drug you are taking. This could limit your treatment options for the future.

Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP, is different. You’re prescribed PEP after you have been exposed to HIV. If you’ve had unprotected sex, then PEP is an immediate option (i.e. within 24 hours). If you wait more than 48 hours, the possibility of PEP working is much lower. Just like with PrEP, PEP follows a protocol and must be taken over a period of time.

To be on top of your sexual health, you should receive regular check-ups that include a screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia (urine test and oral/anal swabs depending on the types of sex you have), syphilis, and hepatitis (blood test), and a rapid HI V test (results in 10–20 minutes). Depending on your personal level of risk, you should have this done at least every six months.

Anytime you are exposed to someone who has an STI, there is the possibility that you can become infected. There are over 20 STIs (e.g.herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis), so HIV shouldn’t be your only concern.

Latex condoms are always your first line of defense. If you’re allergic to latex, polyurethane condoms, such as the female condom, are great alternatives. Since most of the STIs mentioned earlier can also be contracted orally, using flavored condoms for oral sex is an option for protection.

Bottom line: Pride can be an exciting time, with lots of opportunity for new adventures and exploration, but PrEP is only right for some people. If used correctly, it can be helpful in reducing your risk of becoming infected with HI V. But, remember it is intensive and requires strict adherence to a daily medication regimen, regular HI V testing, and should be used in combination with other forms of prevention. It’s not a one-time pill.

Dr. Margo Bell, is an attending physician in the Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at Stroger Hospital and the Director of Inpatient Pediatrics. Clinical practices include care of LGBT youth and young adults at the Stroger SGL clinic and TaskForce CBO.

If you have questions about PrEP or PEP, have a frank conversation with your doctor. Never take a drug without knowing about its facts (e.g. effectiveness, side effects, and expected outcome).


Follow the link to read this and the rest of our Pride issue of HIS Lifestyle Guide 2013 (Issue 3)

Then let us know what you thought by taking our brief survey!