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Study: Down-low label misleading

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For the first time, researchers have studied whether African American men being “on the Down Low” correlates to increased HIV risk … and found that it does not.

According to the CDC, in 2006, Black men accounted for 39-percent of all new MALE HIV infections. Black women, however, made up 60-percent of all new FEMALE infections. Many in the health community suspected the cause was what’s known as “being on the Down Low” – defined CULTURALLY as maintaining a relationship with a woman, while secretly having sex with men.

But researchers at the Public Health Management Corporation found this not to be the case. Lisa Bond is one of the study’s authors.

Bond: “The key message of this particular finding is that it’s really bisexual behavior, and not the subjective identity of “Down Low” that we should be concerned about when we’re trying to have a constructive dialogue about the HIV transmission bridge between black bisexually active men and heterosexual women.”

Bond says much of the messaging about HIV prevention in the black community has been aimed at men “on the Down Low” – when many bisexual men don’t identify as such.

Bond: “Continuing to focus on the DL as a major factor comes at a cost, and that cost is that it detracts attention away from other critically important issues that may be driving the epidemic.”

The report is available on the group’s website, at

–Aaron McQuade


Written by OutQ News staff

April 2, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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