The Danger of Living "Down Low"; Black Men Who Hide Their Bisexuality Can Put Women at Risk
March 15, 2001
Men who hide their bisexuality put their unsuspecting female partners at risk. The situation is creating havoc for those trying to battle HIV within the African-American community, as HIV is increasingly affecting African-American women and many bisexual men consider themselves heterosexual -- and thus ignore safe-sex warnings targeting bisexual or homosexual men. At just 12 percent of the U.S. population, African Americans represent 37 percent of all reported AIDS cases. Over 50 percent of the AIDS cases among African-American males are in men who have sex with men, a sharp increase from 31 percent in 1989. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that of 8,780 HIV-infected men who have sex with other men, nearly 25 percent of the African-American men considered themselves heterosexual, compared with 15 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of white men. Another study revealed that of nearly 3,500 young gay and bisexual men, one in six reported recently having sex women, and nearly 25 percent of those men also had unprotected sex with both men and women. Health organizations are still unsure about how to approach men on the "down low" regarding the considerable risks they are taking and sharing, particularly since identifying these men is difficult. E. Lynn Harris, the author of a new book called "Invisible Life," and Jim King, an HIV-prevention consultant from Ohio, are making individual efforts to get the message to women. They recommend that women ask their partners about his sexual history, suggest they get HIV tests, and not agree to sex without protection.Adapted from:
Other CDC News for March 15, 2001
USA Today (www.usatoday.com)
03/15/01; P. 1D; Sternberg, Steve
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.