African-American, Hispanic Men Who Have Sex With Men Spreading HIV To Minority Heterosexual Women, Study Shows
Although HIV-positive African-American and Hispanic men are more likely than their white counterparts to have sex with both men and women, African-American and Hispanic women are less likely than white women to know that their partners have sex with both men and women, according to results from a study that is scheduled to be published later this year, the Detroit News reports. The study, conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the CDC, used data from state health departments in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina and Washington, as well as data from the Los Angeles County Health Department. According to the study, 34% of HIV-positive African-American men said that they had engaged in sex with both women and men, compared with 26% of HIV-positive Hispanic men and 13% of HIV-positive white men. However, among HIV-positive women, 14% of white women said that they knew their partners had also had sex with men, compared with 6% of African-American and Hispanic women. The disparity in awareness is partly responsible for the rapid spread of HIV in minority communities, according to the AIDS CARE study. In 2001, 12% of the U.S. population was African American, but African Americans represented 50% of the new HIV cases reported in that year, according to the News. In addition, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 25 to 34, and the disease is among the top three leading causes of death for African-American women ages 35 to 44 and black men ages 25 to 54, according to the News.
The study "confirms what people have been saying and what they knew anecdotally," Loretta Davis Satterla, director of the division of HIV/AIDS-STDs at the Michigan Department of Community Health, said. "This is not a myth," Eve Mokotoff, chief of HIV/AIDS epidemiology at the Michigan Department of Community Health and lead author of the study, said, adding, "We interviewed these men and this is very real. What underlies this problem is our unacceptance of homosexuality." Rosalind Andrews-Worthy, executive director of Detroit-based Gospel Against AIDS, agreed, saying, "The stigma we have put on homosexuality is causing people to make the decisions they are making. It's devastating African-American men. These men are living a suppressed life." Andrews-Worthy added, "We have to start embracing everyone. Until we do, we will have men who have sex with men and go back to women" (Hayes Taylor, Detroit News, 6/27).