San Francisco Chronicle Series Examines How ‘Down-Low’ Phenomenon Affects Women in African-American Community
The San Francisco Chronicle in a series of articles published on Sunday and Monday examined the "down-low" phenomenon -- when men have sex with both male and female partners but do not mention their male relationships to friends, family members or female partners -- in the African-American community. The articles are summarized below.
- "Secret Encounters of Bisexual Black Men Could Be Creating Wave of Infected Women": Because the phenomenon is "defined by secrecy," little is known about men on the down low, the Chronicle reports. CDC has launched five studies to help determine the size of the down-low population and whether these men play a role in the rising number of HIV cases among African-American women, according to the Chronicle. CDC's findings, along with the findings of other researchers, are expected to be important in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the African-American community, the Chronicle reports (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/1).
- "The Stunned Wife: Preacher Husband Infected Her With HIV Knowingly": The Chronicle profiled Ava Gardner-Shipp, a 44-year-old African-American woman whose minister husband secretly had sex with other men and knowingly transmitted HIV to her. Since revealing her story, Gardner-Shipp says many other women have told her they "feared their husbands were on the down low" and shared similar experiences, the Chronicle reports (Johnson , San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2).
- "The Double Life: Former Sailor Dated Women, Also Had Secret Sex With Men": The Chronicle profiled Blue Buddha, a 38-year-old African-American man who for many years secretly had sex with men while dating women. His experience demonstrates the "hostility toward homosexuality" in the black community, which causes many men to keep their sexual activity secret, according to the Chronicle (Johnson , San Francisco Chronicle, 5/2).