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Commentary & Opinion

"Sexual Duality" of Many Black MSM "Fans Flames of AIDS Wildfire," Opinion Piece Says

March 23, 2004

The "sexual duality" of many black men who have sex with men "fans the flames of the AIDS wildfire" and may account for a recent study showing an increase in the number of HIV cases among black male college students, columnist DeWayne Wickham writes in his USA Today column (Wickham, USA Today, 3/23). North Carolina public health officials at the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in February presented the findings of a study that showed an HIV outbreak among black male college students in the state. Researchers found six HIV cases among male college students ages 18 to 30 in 2000, 19 cases in 2001, 29 cases in 2002 and 30 cases in 2003. Of the 84 total new cases during that period, 73 cases -- or 88% -- were among black men, and 11 cases -- or 13% -- were among white men (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/11). Homophobia among black men -- "which is deeply rooted in traditional religious values and urban machismo" -- and the slow response of the black community to AIDS has "driven a lot of black [MSM] underground," leading to greater risk taking in "both their selection of sex partners and the way they carry out sexual acts," Wickham says. "It's hard to educate gay men about the dangers of reckless sex if intolerance forces them into hiding and denial," Wickham says, concluding that educational institutions must encourage students at historically black institutions to be "more understanding, if not accepting, of gays and lesbians" (USA Today, 3/23).

Other Coverage
Several other newspapers published articles about the increase in the number of HIV cases among black male college students. Links to the articles appear below:

  • Charlotte Observer: "North Carolina Colleges Racing to Teach 'HIV 101'" (Breen Bolling, Charlotte Observer, 3/20).

  • Cox/Charlotte Observer: "Black Colleges Address Risks of Sex With Candor" (Wahlberg, Cox/Charlotte Observer, 3/22).


  • Raleigh News & Observer: "HIV Data Head to Campuses" (Niolet, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/21).

  • Tallahassee Democrat: "FAMU Offers AIDS Prevention Services" (Davis, Tallahassee Democrat, 3/21).

  • AP/Washington Times: "HIV Fears Rise in Blacks" (Breed, AP/Washington Times, 3/23).

NPR's "Day to Day" on Monday reported on the "Stomp Out HIV/STDs" Conference, which was attended by students from "dozens" of historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina. The segment includes comments from CDC epidemiologist Lisa Fitzpatrick and an HIV-positive student speaker at the conference (Inge, "Day to Day," NPR, 3/22). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.

Back to other news for March 23, 2004

Reprinted with permission from You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
See Also's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
HIV and Me: An African American's Guide to Living With HIV
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More Views on HIV Prevention in the African-American Community


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