‘Oprah Winfrey Show’ To Discuss Black Men ‘On the Down Low’
The nationally syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show" on Friday will examine the "sexual underground" of men on the "down low" (Garloch, Charlotte Observer, 4/16). The expression describes black men who have sex with men but do not mention their male relationships to their female sex partners, friends or family members. Some observers say that the increase in the number of HIV cases linked to heterosexual sex among black women is associated with these men (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/5). Jonathan Perry, an HIV-positive senior at the historically black Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C., will appear on the program. Perry's experience attracted the attention of "Oprah" producers in part because of a recent study showing an increase in the number of HIV cases among black male college students, the Observer reports (Charlotte Observer, 4/16). North Carolina public health officials in a study presented at the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in February found six new 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, 3/23). Perry, who in March spoke at an HIV/AIDS awareness conference for students of historically black colleges and universities, said he understands how "pressure to conform and the stigma against homosexuality" cause some men to be dishonest about their sexual activity, according to the Observer. "Social expectations and parental expectations have a lot do do with where we are now when it comes to the infection rates with HIV," he added. J.L. King, author of the book, "On the Down Low," also is scheduled to appear on the program (Charlotte Observer, 4/16). Check local listings for show times.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.