On the June 22, 2010 episode of ABC television talk show “The View” on which the topic discussed was about Gays Giving Blood, co-host Sherri Shepherd made the false and dangerous claim that black women are contracting HIV because they’re sleeping with bi-sexual black men on the “downlow.”
This is a dangerous myth that only further hinders fact-based HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in the black community. Here are the facts:
Heterosexual black men with multiple sex partners - not bisexual men who secretly have sex with men - are responsible for high rates of HIV among black women, according to a study by the Center Of Disease Control, released October 2009.
"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,” stated senior CDC official Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
Black women make up 61 percent of all new HIV cases among women in the United States and have an HIV prevalence rate nearly 18 times that of white women. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for black women ages 25-34, and 80 percent of new cases are contracted through heterosexual contact.
Ms. Shepherd, we respectfully ask you to publicly retract your statement that black women are primarily contracting HIV because they are sleeping with black "downlow" men who aren't using condoms. This is simply not true.
The longer this deadly myth continues to be perpetuated the more black women are put at risk to HIV infection. We thank in advance for your commitment to set the record straight as an effort to support fact-based prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS in the African American community.