AIDS Awareness Month: A Plea for Personal Responsibility Over Blaming Bisexual Men

Speak Equal on December 14, 2010 at 4:26 pm
Arielle Loren is a staunch advocate for taking the “blame game” out of sex and erradicating the myths surrounding HIV/AIDS.

The “Down-Low” has become a nursery rhyme for numerous Black media outlets. Incessantly, journalists sing, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the positive HIV status.” It’s salacious, it rings in the ears of heterosexual Black women, and it sends our communities into a witch-hunt for undercover bisexual men. We publish books called The Straight-Up Truth About the Down-Low: Women Share Their Stories of Betrayal, Pain and Survival. We tune into talk shows and watch women cry about their husband’s bisexual infidelity. And then we look at our husbands, boyfriends, and boos, and conclude that we have nothing to worry about. We lay down our bodies and our youth. We take a risk. We fuck unprotected.

While Tyler Perry showcased a HIV-positive Black female in “For Colored Girls,” it is not married Black women who are bearing the brunt of new HIV infections. Since married Black women are nearly extinct, numbers alone should tell you that they are not the overwhelming faces of Black women with HIV. It’s time that we focus on the larger truth and detach ourselves from the sensationalism. We are the face of Black women with HIV: the young, beautiful, and sexually active.

Every single day, a young Black woman spreads her legs and allows a raw penis to lie inside her. It doesn’t make a difference whether the penis has been inside men, men and women, or just women. All it takes is one unprotected, HIV-infected penis to change that young woman’s life. It has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It’s about that moment between that young woman and man.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gay, bisexual, and other men who sleep with men (MSM) currently account for 63% of new HIV infections among all Black men. Of that 63%, we don’t know how many of them also sleep with women, and, clearly, not every man who sleeps with men also sleeps with women. On the flipside, 37% of Black men with new HIV infections are straight.

While journalists and concerned individuals have molded these statistics as “evidence” of the Down-Low HIV transmission theory, there simply hasn’t been a direct research study that shows bisexual men to be the leading cause of HIV transmission to Black women. Thus, I’d like to ask that we focus on what we know for sure.

In a lifetime, 1 in 30 Black women will be diagnosed with HIV infection, as will 1 in 16 Black men. Overall, African-Americans continue to experience the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases of any race or ethnicity in the United States. For instance, 48% of Black women have HSV-2 herpes, and that’s not the cold sore. Overall, the proven research already screams at us in volumes. It’s not about bisexual men. It’s not about straight men. It’s about us. Unless we are raped, we make decisions and take sexual risks that can have deathly results. [READ MORE]

Tags: World AIDS Day

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