Chicago Tribune Examines Phenomenon of Men Who Have Sex With Men ‘On the Down Low’
The Chicago Tribune on Wednesday in two articles examined the phenomenon of black men who have sex with men "on the down low" by not mentioning their male sexual relationships to their female partners, friends or family members. One Tribune article profiles Ida Byther-Smith, an HIV-positive woman who contracted the virus from her husband who had sexual relationships with men without her knowledge (Lauerman, Chicago Tribune , 8/25). The second article profiles J.L. King, the author of a book on the subject, titled "On the Down Low: A Journey Into the Lives of 'Straight' Black Men Who Sleep with Men." The down-low phenomenon is a "significant issue confronting women all over the world who are at risk for HIV," AIDS Foundation of Chicago Executive Director Mark Ishaug said. According to CDC, bisexual behavior is a "bridge" for HIV transmission to heterosexual women. Many women may be "living with a false sense of security" because they are "unaware that their husbands or steady boyfriends are putting them at risk" of contracting HIV "by having sex with men," the Tribune reports. Moreover, many women allow men to "control" sex by not requiring their sexual partners to wear condoms, according to King (Lauerman, Chicago Tribune , 8/25).
Both articles are available online.