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Homosexuality in the Black Community

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HIV/AIDS is a national pandemic that has hit the African American community the hardest. According to the CDC the African American population in the United States accounts for almost half of the HIV/AIDS population that exists. At the end of 2007, blacks accounted for almost half (46%) of people living with a diagnosis of HIV infection in the 37 states and 5 US dependent areas with long-term, confdential, name-based HIV reporting One explanation for this is because many are too embarrassed to go get tested. They are also to afraid of the results after formerly being diagnosed with the disease. In 2003 an article examined by the Washington post examined African American men on the "Down Low." This a term used to describe men who secretly have sex with men and never mention their male relationships to their female partners, friends or family members.

The media in the past several years has come to associate the high level in homosexuality in the African American population to men on the Down Low.

Rejecting a gay culture they perceive as white and effeminate, many black men have settled on a new identity, with its own vocabulary and customs and its own name: Down Low. There have always been men -- black and white -- who have had secret sexual lives with men. But the creation of an organized, underground subculture largely made up of black men who otherwise live straight lives is a phenomenon of the last decade.

Most men are on the Down Low, or on the DL, as they more often call it. Most date or marry women and engage sexually with men they meet only in anonymous settings like bathhouses and parks or through the Internet. Many of these men are young and from the inner city, where they live in a hypermasculine ''thug'' culture. Other DL men form romantic relationships with men and may even be peripheral participants in mainstream gay culture, all unknown to their colleagues and families. Most DL men identify themselves not as gay or bisexual but first and foremost as black. To them, as to many blacks, that equates to being inherently masculine.

The DL means different things to different people. Dr. Wheeler explains, "We found that many of the men who called themselves down low were not sexually active with women, very few said that they were straight or heterosexual, and many did not equate the DL with having a wife or girlfriend." Results of this study found that 54% of the men who called themselves down low reported no sex with a female in the three months prior to being interviewed, and the majority identified as bisexual (56%) or homosexual (28%), not heterosexual.

The paper will be a paper used to analyze African American men on the down low as portrayed in society. According to the article HIV/AIDS Prevention, those who are down low contribute significantly to the HIV/AIDS issue. Wolotski et. al. makes it clear that society has difficulty understanding men who are on the down low. For so long African American men have been known to be homophobic. But to now take part in homosexual acts and not identify as homosexual as gay is unclear

I think that the concept of down low needs to be researched more, not because of the activity that takes place, but because of the trouble it causes. Men go on to contract the HIV/AIDS virus and go on to pass it on to their counterparts. It is important for more information disttributed so



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