The down low is a term used to refer to men who are in relationships with women, but who also have sex with men MSM. This deeply problematic term started in the black community, and is a reflection of problematic stereotypes of black MSM. However, this type of behavior is not unique to African Americans. Men across all races and cultures have been known to deny their attraction to other men. As such, there is some utility in understanding that pattern of behavior. Societal pressure is a powerful force.
'Dense sexual networks' behind high HIV rates of gay black men, study finds
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Though an immense amount of resources and time have been dedicated to fighting the HIV epidemic among black gay and bisexual men, not much is known about the strategies black gay and bisexual men use to remain HIV negative. Understanding how black gay and bisexual men are able to remain negative -- despite being constantly labeled "high risk" for or "vulnerable" to HIV by public health researchers and health care providers alike -- might provide us a roadmap for how to achieve better health outcomes and ultimately end the AIDS epidemic. A recently published article in the journal Men and Masculinities explored black men who have sex with men MSM 's motivators and strategies for maintaining HIV-negative status. It found that many participants attributed their ability to stay HIV negative to a strong sense of religious and spiritual identity, social support from friends and family, and social engagement with other HIV-negative black MSM in safe spaces. Other strategies included the ability to take personal agency in asking sexual partners about their HIV status and strategically choosing sexual positioning to reduce risk for HIV transmission. It is important to note that this study was conducted in , the same year the U.
The study is the largest and most comprehensive to assess why these disparities exist. It analyzed young black MSM's social networks, such as past sexual partners, as well as measures of stress, past trauma and stigma. The authors used data from RADAR, a project funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, that identifies drivers of HIV infections on multiple levels, including sexual partner and relationship characteristics, network dynamics and community-level factors.
Source: CDC. HIV Surveillance Report ; Accessed January 24, These deaths may be due to any cause. In addition to stigma and other risk factors affecting all gay and bisexual men , several factors are specific to African American gay and bisexual men.