In the recent ABC Primetime special, “Out of Control: AIDS in Black America”, Tom Moran cited ignorance as 1 of 5 reasons why AIDS has reached epidemic proportions in the Black community.
When it comes to Black women and AIDS, that ignorance can take many forms. My research indicates that our ignorance falls into two major categories:
- ignorance about the facts regarding Black women and HIV/AIDS
- ignorance of the circumstances in our lives which put us at risk for HIV infection
Within those two categories, I’d like to call attention to 8 specific areas of ignorance about Black women and AIDS which invite infection.
8 Areas of Ignorance Within Those 2 Categories
1. Ignorance that HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women 25-44 years of age and has been for the past 11 years.
2. Ignorance that almost 70% of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are Black women.
3. Ignorance that the most common method of HIV/AIDS infection for Black women is heterosexual transmission-- largely due to Black men on the down low.
Ignorance regarding the statistics, methods of transmission, and prevalence of the disease mean that many Black women are still unaware that HIV/AIDS has gone from being a predominantly gay white male disease to a predominantly Black disease, with Black women being the highest risk category.
4. Ignorance of your partner’s sexual history or his true sexual orientation.
5. Ignorance that you are not in the monogamous relationship as you assumed, because your partner has one or more other partners.
6. Ignorance that you are a victim of same sex infidelity -- that your husband or boyfriend is sexually involved with another man.
7. Ignorance about your own and your partner’s HIV status – that he may be HIV positive and may have already infected you, his unsuspecting mate.
8. Ignorance about how to tell if your husband or boyfriend is on the down low.
Ignorance in these areas mean that many Black women don’t realize there are aspects of our lifestyles that we are unaware of, or take for granted which put us at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Ignorance Fueled by 2 Common Myths
Ultimately, our ignorance invites infection, regardless of which of the 8 forms it takes. One of the most prevalent forms of ignorance – the ignorance about how to tell if a man is on the down low ( what signs to look for) -- is fueled by two common myths.
Myth #1 - There are no signs – no way to tell if a man is on the down low.
Myth #2 - You can tell by looking at a man if he’s on the down low.
Down Low Dozen Tip Sheet Dispels the Myths
Last year, in an effort to dispel these myths and eliminate much of the ignorance associated with how to tell if a man is on the down low, I compiled a 2-part tip sheet for Black women called the Down Low Dozen, which gives specific guidelines on what to look for if you suspect your partner may be on the down low.
We need to get serious about this threat to our health. The Down Low Dozen tip sheet is a protective measure. In order to protect ourselves against heterosexually contracted HIV/AIDS, it’s vitally important that as Black women, we know how to tell if our husbands and boyfriends are on the down low. It could prove to be a matter of life and death.
Part 1 of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet describes a discreet 3-step procedure for finding out if a man is on the down low, without the risk of looking foolish or making false accusations.
Part 2 of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet gives practical advice on what to do if you find out your husband or boyfriend is on the down low, how to confront him about his down low status, questions to ask, precautions to take, and how to find places to get help. For a FREE copy of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet, send an e-mail to DownLowDozen.gmail.com with “DL Dozen-ad” in the subject line.
© Copyright 2006 Ruth Houston. All rights reserved.
About Ruth Houston:
Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the author of Is He Cheating on You? – 829 Telltale Signs, and the founder of InfidelityAdvice.com She is frequently called on by the media to coment on popular infidelity issues in the news and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, the New York Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Christian Science Monitor, Heart and Soul, the Washington Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, iVillage, MSN Lifestyle, AOL Black Voices, and numerous other print and online media.
Ruth has been a guest on The Today Show, Good Day New York, Telemundo, CNN, The Michael Baisden Show. The Breakfast Club, TalkAmerica, Power Talk Radio, Say it Loud, Living in Black and over 270 other radio and TV talk shows in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.
To interview infidelity expert Ruth Houston or have her speak to your group, call 718 592-6039, or e-mail her at InfidelityExpert.gmail.com