Are Down Low Men To Blame For the Rise of HIV In Our Women?

July 14, 2010  |  

The panel of The View is in hot water again for comments that Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley recently made about HIV/AIDS and how it spreads in the African American community between straight women and secretly gay or “down low” men. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is calling on the ABC show to retract their misleading quote.

Together with the National Black Justice Coalition and the Black AIDS Institute, GLAAD has taken out a full page ad in the new issue of Variety Magazine slamming The View for the comments, made during the show’s June 22 episode.

“When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American community, it’s primarily young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low,” Hughley said.

Shepherd added: “It’s so big in the black community with women because they’re having sex with men who have been having sex with men.”

In the GLADD ad, they point out that Shepherd and Hughley’s comments are false. ” We have looked to see what proportion of infections [among African American women] is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few,”says Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, in an interview with NNPA News Service. “More are male partners who are having female partners and are injecting drugs or using drugs or have some other risks that may put those female partners at risk of acquiring HIV.”

ABC and The View have so far refused to comment publicly on the controversy.

The “down low” conversation has been prevalent in the African American community for many years now from books by African American gay authors to blogs, DVDs, newspaper articles and television talk shows.

Do you think the “down low” situation is really “all in our heads”? Do you think Sherri and D.L. were wrong for their comments?

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