As an infidelity expert and a Black woman, I feel it's my duty to speak out on the issue of Black women and HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day because same sex infidelity -- better known in the Black community as the "down low" -- is one of the primary ways Black women are contracting HIV.
I believe that ignorance is largely responsible for the high rates of HIV/AIDS among Black women
I cannot believe that a sane Black woman would willingly put herself at risk for HIV/AIDS if she were fully aware of the facts about HIV/AIDS - the statistics, methods of transmission, the prevalence of the disease among Black women, and the lifestyle behaviors and circumstances that put her at risk for this deadly disease.
The sad truth is that far too many Black women are ignorant about these things concerning HIV/AIDS, and that ignorance invites infection.
When it comes to Black women and HIV/AIDS, that ignorance can take many forms. However, the average Black woman's ignorance concerning HIV/AIDS falls into two categories:
1. Ignorance about the facts or statistics relating to Black women and HIV/AIDS.
2. Ignorance of the circumstances or situations in her lifestyle which put her at risk for HIV infection.
Below is detailed look at the two areas of ignorance which put Black women at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Ignorance About HIV/AIDS Facts And Statistics
- Ignorance that that HIV/AIDS is no longer a predominantly gay white male disease, but is now a predominantly Black disease, with Black women being the highest risk category.
- Ignorance that Blacks are the hardest hit of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
- Ignorance that despite the fact that Blacks account for 12 percent of the U.S. population, they represent over 50% of all HIV/AIDS cases,
- Ignorance that HIV/AIDS is now a major health crisis for Black women.
- Ignorance that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women 25-34 years of age.
- Ignorance that almost 70% of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are Black women.
- Ignorance that 62% of women living with HIV are Black women.
- Ignorance that Black women are 33 times more likely than white women to be living with HIV/AIDS.
- Ignorance that Black women are most likely to be infected with HIV as a result of unprotected sex with men who are HIV positive.
- Ignorance that the majority of Black men who are HIV positive have no idea they are infected.
- Ignorance that exposure to another sexually-transmitted disease like gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia can increase her risk of getting HIV.
- Ignorance that Blacks with AIDS have shorter survival times, and don't live as long as people of other races and ethnic groups who have AIDS.
- Ignorance that there is NO CURE for HIV/AIDS, but there are treatments that can help manage the disease and keep it from getting worse.
Ignorance of Lifestyle Circumstances that Put Her at Risk for HIV/AIDS
- Ignorance that her husband or boyfriend is a potential source of HIV/AIDS.
- Ignorance of her sex partner's sexual history, or his true sexual orientation.
- Ignorance that her husband or boyfriend has other sex partners, and that she is not in a monogamous relationship as she assumed.
- Ignorance that her husband or boyfriend is sexually involved with another man, and that she is a victim of same sex infidelity.
- Ignorance that the most common way for a Black woman to become infected with HIV is by having unprotected sex with a Black man on the down low.
- Ignorance about how to accurately determine if her husband or boyfriend is on the down low.
- Ignorance about her man's HIV status - that he may be HIV positive, and may have already infected her with HIV.
- Ignorance about her own HIV status.
- Ignorance that if she is HIV positive, early treatment can keep the disease from turning into full blown AIDS.
Ignorance in any one of the areas above can invite infection.
Educate Yourself About HIV/AIDS.
The best way for a Black woman to over come her ignorance in these areas is to educate herself and others about HIV/AIDS. Especially since it's cheat that ignorance invites infection.
Knowledge is power. The more a woman knows about HIV/AIDS, and how it's transmitted, and the lifestyle factors that put her at risk for this disease, the less likely she'll be to engage in behavior that can jeopardize her health.
It's a tragedy for a Black woman to become infected with HIV through no fault of her own, because of something she didn't know.
The message is clear:
Get tested. Know your own and your partner's HIV status. To find a testing center near you, visit hivtest.org or, on your cell phone, text your zip code to Know IT (566948).
Abstain, or practice safe sex.
Any Black woman who is, or has been sexually involved with someone whose HIV status she doesn't know, should GET TESTED RIGHT AWAY. The longer she waits to find out her HIV status, the worse it will be for her health later on, if she turns out to be HIV positive.
Resources to Help Eliminate Ignorance About Black Women and HIV/AIDS
In an effort to help eliminate much of the ignorance surrounding Black women, the "down low" and HIV/AIDS, I've compiled the following resources, both of which are FREE.
Black Woman's HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz
A Black Woman's HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz designed to help Black women identify the gaps in their knowledge and behavior in their lifestyles that put them at risk for HIV/AIDS. The quiz will help her pinpoint any changes she needs to make in order to safeguard her health and decrease her chances of becoming an HIV/AIDS statistic.
The quiz can be found on my blog Black Women, the Down Low and HIV/AIDS at http://blackwomen-thedownlow-hivaids.blogspot.com/ I suggest that women take this quiz themselves. Share it with their female friends and relatives, and encourage them to take it too. With Black women being in the highest risk category for HIV/AIDS, a woman's health, her well-being, her very life depends on being well informed. Ignorance only invites infection.
The Down Low Dozen Tip Sheet
Part 1 of this FREE 2-part tip sheet describes a discreet 3-step procedure a Black women can use to out if her husband or boyfriend 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 provides practical advice on what to do if a woman finds out her man is on the down low, tips on how to confront him about his down low status, questions to ask, precautions to take, and places she can turn to for help. . For a FREE copy of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet, e-mail DownLowDozen@gmail.com with "DL Dozen-rr" in the subject line.
For more information, visit www,InfidelityAdvice.com or http://blackwomen-thedownlow-hivaids.blogspot.com/
Causes Ruth Houston Supports
Humane Society of New York