For four years, I’ve been California dreamin’. I dig the eclectic L.A. vibes; I’m enchanted by the year round seasonable weather coupled with the awe-inspiring palm trees, as well as the big city atmosphere at a preferably slower pace than my hometown of New York City. Unfortunately, since my job search for the past year-and-a-half has yielded unfavorable results, I’ve had to pump the breaks on leaving my birthplace behind for sunny L.A. and open my mind to other desirable cities.

Atlanta and D.C. falls into my contingency relocation options for numerous reasons: Both cities have been newly minted as “Black Meccas,” which means they’re a magnet for upwardly mobile black professionals from all walks of life, the cities’ landscapes are continuously being transformed by surging black entrepreneurship, and each metropolis boasts amazing black history through their HBCUs, artistic expression and individual cultures.

I’m at an impressionable age and time in my life where I’m most certainly more concerned about my career and finding an opportunity that will allow me to establish myself for the path that I’m seeking, and Atlanta and D.C. satisfies my mental checklist for career advancement. But here comes the pause…I’m a single girl (ahem, pause), and the staggering rise of new HIV/AIDS cases, along with the ever increasing media frenzy of the down-low phenomena within these cities’ black communities become variables (albeit not a major deciding factor) to weigh, as I possibly consider making either destination my home sweet home.

As of 2008, the percentage of the District’s residents living with HIV/AIDS exceeded 1%. However, black D.C. residents remain the most severely impacted with 4.7% of the population living with the disease. This means one in every 21 blacks in D.C. has HIV/AIDS. Equally surprisingly, of the 48 U.S. counties with the highest rates for HIV infections, 25 of them are in Georgia, with Atlanta’s primarily large poverty-stricken black population leading the way. These facts are what fueled my hesitation to move, because at some point, I intend on settling down with a black man (yeah I said it) once my career path is a little less shaky, but then the eligibility pool shrinks considerably in light of those numbers.

Maybe pondering this now is a tad bit pre-mature since naturally there’ll always be men and diseases, but on the other hand, how long can these black urban meccas be deemed a beacon of opportunity for us if we still have this swelling hurdle to overcome?

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  • Whatever

    This is the second post discussing finding a man in Atlanta… Give it up. The ratio of men to women is not in your favor. You’re more likely to date a man that has 3 other women than a DL brother. The even bigger issue is that Atlanta has a sh*tty economy. It is important to research everything about city before moving there not just how easy it is to find a man or the number of HIV positive men.

  • Dierdra

    Girl, think hard about staying in California! I just moved out of Atlanta almost two years ago, and that was the best move I ever made in my whole life! In Atlanta there are a lot of black women chasing after a very small number of worthy black men, and there is no reason for any of these men to settle down, because they can get all the sex they want with no commitment required, so that’s what they do. Even the average-looking ones have plenty of sisters to pick from.

    DON’T MOVE THERE! Run, don’t walk, in the other direction from Atlanta.

  • SoOverDC

    STDs of all kinds are rampant in DC, but like any major city that will be an issue. As a native Washingtonian, DC is no longer “Chocolate City”. Gentrification has taken place all over this small city and blacks have been priced out of the city into Maryland. Even parts of the city whites wouldn’t dare go through at night are being redeveloped and gentrified.

    While DC does have a larger black professional population than most other cities, PLEASE don’t think black men here are interested in settling down. They come here for two things: 1) high paying jobs/ career opportunity 2) the plethora of educated, successful black women. Every guy I’ve met who has come here from other parts of the country don’t know what to do with themselves living in a city full of black women and it shows. They know they’re hot commodities in a city with the female to male ration something like 10:1, committment is the LAST thing they’re looking for. They have absolutely NO incentive to settle down, when they can have their pick. If they do decide to settle down, they push it off until they’re almost 40 or even older. Of the men I know who are married, not a single one of them is faithful. They get married KNOWING they have no intentions on being faithful- and it doesn’t matter how gorgeous the woman is, how financially successful, how educated…fidelity is just a word to these men. Man sharing has become some sort of open secret…WELCOME TO DC! DC is for the perpetually single, period.