During a live taping of ‘The View’ on June 22, host Sherri Shepherd along with guest host comedian and actor D.L. Hughley stated a reason why a increasing number of heterosexual Black women are infected with HIV is because of Black men on the “down-low.”
Hughley stated, “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.”
Shepherd followed saying, “It’s so big in the Black community with women because they’re having sex with men who have been having sex with men.”
The duo’s comments represents a larger myth– and for some women a reality (exact numbers unreported)–in the Black community that women are at greater risk when they unknowingly sleep with gay men. This growing myth propels a great paranoia among African American women.
GLAAD, the gay media watch group is up in arms because of the comments made. The organization took out a full-page ad in Variety calling ABC to task and demanding the network retract the statement.
The ad also prompted the Black AIDS Institute and the National Black Justice Coalition to release a statement:
“The Centers for Disease Control publicly disproves this myth. And since June 22, thousands of people have written to ABC, asking that ‘The View’ provide correct information to viewers. Unfortunately, those requests have been greeted with silence from both ABC and ‘The View.’”
In 2007, Reuters released a health report claiming the “down-low” myth distorts HIV research and prevention. Dr. Chandra L. Ford of Columbia University says “down-low” Black men does not explain HIV/AIDS disparities in the African American community. “This assumption was mistaken in many ways. First of all, the practice of straight men secretly having sex with men is seen across all ethnic groups.”
What do you think about the comments made? Do you think there is any truth to the statements? Sound off!