port of harlem magazine
Theo Hodge, Jr. M.D.
Ron Simmons New HIV Prevention Project Turns to African Thought
January 3 – January 16, 2019
ron simmons

It’s been two years since Dr. Ron Simmons retired as head of Us Helping Us, an African-American based AIDS service organization that advocated that long life was possible with HIV when many newly diagnosed victims died in six months.  Since his retirement, he has started Ron Simmons Consulting and introduced a new project that is also new wave in the fight against HIV.

He calls the new program Bodemé, a word taken from the Dagara, which means gatekeepers. The Dagara largely live in Burkina Faso. Pan-Africanist icon Thomas Sankara once ruled this landlocked West African country.

Unlike most people, the Bodemé were seen to have one foot in the physical world and one foot in the spiritual world and were respected for that. “Because they vibrate at a higher frequency than the typical person that is what can lead them to same sex desires,” explained Simmons. 

Simmons based the eight-hour sexual health workshop on the Dagara’s teachings of the Bodemé before the coming of Europeans, Christianity, and Islam. Simmons says the Dagara saw the Bodemé as gatekeepers and mediators.

He cites the book The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships, by Burkinabé Sobonfu Somi, for much of his background source.  Somi, who was born in Burkina Faso, died in 2017. Her former husband, Dr. Malidoma Patrice Somé, who is also Dagara, continues to lecture in the United States and abroad.

The Howard University graduate says unlike other programs that focus on how not get HIV, Bodemé deals with the participants’ body, mind, and spirit. During the workshops held in Atlanta and Washington, DC and coming soon to Houston, Saint Petersburg, and Jackson, Simmons teaches that sexual energy is spiritual energy. It can be used in three ways he says “procreation, recreation, or regeneration.  “We suggest you use it for regeneration or intimacy.”

Simmons is a survivor. In 1990, doctors diagnosed him with HIV and gave him six months live. In retrospect, he adds, “Who would have believed then that that there would be a pill a day to treat HIV or a pill a day to prevent it.”

As a survivor of Hodgkins Lymphoma, a disease which is common among those who have taken HIV medications for a long time, and prostate cancer, Simmons adds “once you survive HIV everything is like gravy.”
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