Black Women's Health and Happiness

Insights into physical, mental, and spiritual health for women of color.

HIV and the Black Community: Info for the 21st Century

People with promiscuous, poor, uneducated, "down-low" lifestyles most at risk.

Monday, June 27th, is National HIV Testing Day. Many communities are offering free testing today. Take advantage of it. Here is a quick Q&A about the disease.

Q: Why is HIV/AIDS still an issue for our country, and especially Blacks?

A: HIV is still the #1 cause of death for Blacks ages 25-44, and the disease is greatly preventable.

Q: Black women are the fastest growing segment of the population to test positive for HIV: Why? Are Blacks--and the women, in particular--genetically predisposed?

A: No. Blacks are not genetically predispositioned to get HIV/AIDS; that part is never mentioned. The high rate of HIV/AIDS in Blacks and Black women is solely due to women having sex with men in high-risk populations: Promiscuous men in purely heterosexual relationships, released inmates, men who use drugs, uneducated men, poor men, and men on the "down-low"--Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) who don't tell their female consorts.

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Also, Black MEN mostly get HIV from MSM and IV drug use; Black WOMEN mostly get it from heterosexual contact with high-risk men as described above.

Q: Where did this disease come from? Who are most at risk?

A: In America, HIV was first known as a disease of homosexual White men. Years ago, most Black men got HIV from IV drug use; now, most Black men get it from homosexuality and the "down-low" lifestyle.

In the book, Living Well, Dr. David Malebranche, who wrote an article about "Bisexually Active Black Men in the US and HIV...," is cited. Bottom line: Most White men who go both ways tell the women they sleep with of their dual behavior; Black men do not tell their women partners (most of whom are Black) that they also have sex with men. Also, the Black men were more likely to be poor, and they reported homosexual activity in order to get money for IV drugs.

Q: What about the government, can't they do something to stem the tide?

A: Do you know that the US CDC spends over $300 million dollars a year for HIV prevention in the Black community alone? How much money does the government need to spend? People need to be responsible. Close some legs. Male genitals are everywhere; women don't have to jump on the first one, or the multitudes, that come along or make themselves available to you. Use discretion, and reason before you react. Not having sex with someone won't kill you; having sex with someone you don't know well, or whose background and HIV status is unknown, can.

Q: Does everyone need to be tested?

A: Unless you've been 100% celibate, yes. All women and men of all ages are susceptible to get HIV/AIDS. This disease is especially concerning for young people, in college, etc. In Atlanta, GA for example, the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS cases are in the Black community; particularly in zip codes where the HBCUs are located.

Q: Where did this disease come from? Who are most at risk?

A: HIV was first known as a disease of homosexual White men. Years ago, most Black men got HIV from IV drug use; now, most Black men get it from homosexuality and the "down-low" lifestyle.

Sex is a wonderful, thrilling, pleasurable and physically beneficial act when engaged in by two people who are monogamous, in love (hopefully) and healthy--free of potentially life-threatening diseases.

Be Healthy, Be Blessed...and make sure you are Living Well!

Living Well, Despite Catchin' Hell: The Black Woman's Guide to Health, Sex and Happiness. is the newest book on Black women's health--head to toe. It also includes rich chapters about sex and social issues, including the negative imagery of Black women and the effect they have on our health, as discussed on CNN, the Tom Joyner Morning Show, the Michael Baisden Show and elsewhere.

Copyright © 2011 Dr. Melody T. McCloud. All rights reserved.

Melody T. McCloud, M.D., is an obstetrician-gynecologist and the author of First Do No Harm: How to Heal Your Relationships Using the Wisdom of Professional Caregivers.

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