This essay asks how we are to think the ethics of Black Lives Matter protest amid conditions of contagion in the summer of 2020. It argues that the multitude instantiated in these events didn't simply tolerate the biomedical damage that could result from such proximity, but that it stakes a claim for the ethical virtue of exposure and vulnerability. That these viral commonwealths apprehend not exactly Covid itself, but the risk of infection, as a figure for the historicity of Blackness under the necropolitics of medical apartheid and social death. In order to stage this counterintuitive valorization of risk, the essay examines the barebacking and bug chasing subcultures that emerged during the late 1990s. These communities, too, sourced means of filiation, intimacy, and minoritized historicity from their identification with—and desire for—HIV. Thinking these movements together also allows an overdue retelling of AIDS activism through the intersectional lens of a contemporary queer diaspora.

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