Black Men on ‘Down Low’ Contributing to ‘Rapid Rise’ in HIV Prevalence Among Black Women, Opinion Piece Says
When black men who identify themselves as heterosexual but secretly have sex with men, "they create victims" and are contributing to a "rapid rise" in HIV prevalence among black women, columnist James Campbell writes in a Houston Chronicle opinion piece. Until the nationally syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show" last month examined the issue of men on the "down low" -- "a hip euphemism used to identify heterosexual men who have sex with men but do not consider themselves gay or bisexual" -- these men "were the black community's dirty laundry," Campbell says. Now, "DL brothers [are] a national conversation piece," Campbell says, adding that the show may "set off the alarm needed to wake the black heterosexual community, particularly women, from its naive and dangerous indifference to HIV." Although black men on the down low say their behavior is "a protective mechanism to shield them from societal disdain," Campbell says that it is "deceitful and a dangerous cop-out." Campbell concludes that if these men continue their "alarmingly reckless" behavior, they will "knowingly put at risk the women they purport to love through their fundamental sexual dishonesty" (Campbell, Houston Chronicle, 5/10).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.