2-1-1 Broward can help you find help for critical social services such as emergency financial assistance, food, shelter, housing, child care, job training placement, relief from abuse, depression, summer/after school programs, healthcare or mental support, health care, senior services, legal aid and much more.
Immigrant Straight Spouses Have Some Unique Problems
There is a certain stigma associated with straight spouses in the immigrant community. Immigrants tend to fear what they do not understand. Straight spouses can loose their status and be avoided if it is perceived that they in some way made their husbands gay. Crazily Impossible, but it is truly how some straight spouses are treated. In the Afro-Caribbean diaspora communities in the USA, Interviews with straight spouses demonstrated that straight spouse-related stigma usually manifests as social distance, physical distance, inappropriate words and silence.
The psychological consequences of being a straight spouse, for those identified or admitted to being straight spouses, can range from emotional pain, sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, to internalized stigma. The social consequences usually cause decreased social network size, limited social support and social isolation, and resulted from not only enacted stigma but also self-imposed social withdrawal.
Being a straight spouse is not merely a condition that impacts the physical health of those affected. It is a condition that has major social and psychological implications that are rooted in perceptions about what it means to have a gay spouse. Being gay in certain immigrant communities is, in fact, a highly stigmatized situation because it is often thought to be highly contrary to religious beliefs often held in very high regard by immigrants.
Having a gay spouse can be very severe, and can result in irresponsible volitional behavior considered by many to be norm-violating as homosexuality and male same sex promiscuity are frowned upon in many immigrant circles.
Coming to America may have created many problems for some minority and immigrant straight spouses. Some come from countries used to particular traditions and a culture which is economically, politically and socially, literally oceans apart. The culture shock alone sometimes is just as difficult as anything else they may have to face.
If a partner or spouse has been incarcerated in their country of origin or the US it creates a problem for the family economically as well as socially. This is when some women begin to fear becoming straight spouses, because of the high incidence of MSM in prisons and the fact that this behavior sometimes continues after release.
Here are some of the situations immigrant straight spouses may find themselves in:
Lack of insurance or knowledge of the insurance system is a known hurdle for immigrant women. This makes it difficult for some to access proper healthcare for proper screenings for
Safer Sex Guidelines
An important part of taking charge of one's health is remembering that, should you choose to exercise them, you have certain rights as a consumer.
Transmission of HIV to Women
In the United States, most women are infected with HIV during sex with an HIV-infected man or while using HIV-contaminated syringes for the injection of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines. Of the new HIV infections diagnosed among women in the United States in 2004, CDC estimated 70 percent were attributed to heterosexual contact and 28 percent to injection drug use.
In this country, studies have shown that during unprotected heterosexual intercourse with an HIV-infected partner, women have a greater risk of becoming infected than uninfected men who have heterosexual intercourse with an HIV-infected woman. In other parts of the world, however, this is not necessarily true. In Uganda, for example, one study demonstrated that the risk of HIV transmission from woman to man was the same as from man to woman. This difference may be due to the lack of circumcision in Ugandan men.
Studies in both the United States and abroad have demonstrated that STIs, particularly infections that cause ulcerations of the vagina (for example, genital herpes, syphilis, and chancroid), greatly increase a woman's risk of becoming infected with HIV. NIAID-sponsored cohort studies in the United States have also found a number of other factors to be associated with an increased risk of heterosexual HIV transmission, including alcohol use, history of childhood sexual abuse, current domestic abuse, and use of crack/cocaine.
Consistent and correct use of male latex condoms greatly reduces the risk of becoming infected with HIV. In studies of heterosexual couples, in which one individual was HIV positive and the other uninfected and regular condom use was reported, the rate of HIV transmission was extremely low.
Take this Quiz for National HIV/AIDS Awareness
If you are a Black woman, a minority woman, reading this, you should know that you are in the highest risk category for HIV/AIDS.
But are you personally at risk?
Take the Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz below to find out.
You might be surprised at the results.
Yes It COULD Happen to You
Before you dismiss this quiz, thinking “It can’t happen to me” consider this:
Unprecedented numbers of Black women are contracting HIV/ AIDS mainly from husbands and boyfriends on the down low.
It happening every day to women who least expect it – to women who had no idea their husbands or boyfriends were on the Down Low and sexually involved with other men.
It’s happening to Black women every day, everywhere, from all walks of life.
As an infidelity expert, I deal with the issue of same-sex infidelity ( better known in the Black community as the Down Low) on a daily basis.
So believe me when I say - Yes, It COULD indeed happen to you.
Especially if you’re not aware of the gaps in your knowledge about HIV/AIDS, or certain behaviors in your lifestyle that put you at risk for this life-threatening disease.
This Quiz Could Save Your Life....read further to take the quiz.
Ignorance Invites Infection with Minority Women and HIV/AIDS
I’m convinced that ignorance is largely responsible for the high rates of HIV/AIDS among minority ans immigrant women. I refuse to believe that an immigrant/minority woman in full possession of all the facts regarding HIV/AIDS would willingly put herself at risk for HIV/AIDS.
As a Black woman, I would be remiss if I did not speak out about this issue– especially since same sex infidelity -- better known in the Black community as the “down low” is the primary way that minority women are contracting HIV. I think a major part of the problem is that many minority women are unaware of the facts about HIV/AIDS – the statistics, methods of transmission, the prevalence of the disease among Black/immigrant women, and circumstance and situations in their lifestyles that put them at risk for this disease.
Far too many minority or immigrant women are ignorant about these things concerning HIV/AIDS, and that ignorance invites infection.
For immigrant women, ignorance about HIV/AIDS can take many forms. But if you’re like most immigrant women, your ignorance regarding HIV/AIDS will fall into two main categories:
1. ignorance about the latest facts and statistics regarding minority women and HIV/AIDS.
2. ignorance of the circumstances in your lifestyle which could inadvertently put you at risk for HIV infection.
Let’s take a closer look at these two areas of ignorance which put minority women at risk for HIV/AIDS.
Ignorance About HIV/AIDS Facts And Statistics
Enjoying Safer Sex
Sexual intimacy does not necessarily include sexual intercourse. In deciding whether to engage in intimate sexual relations, including intercourse, you may consider cultural, ethical, religious, moral, and psychological factors as well physical ones. Many people choose to abstain from sexual intercourse. People may choose varying levels of sexual intimacy.
You should not feel pressured to engage in sexual intercourse or any other sexual activity; what is right for you is the level of sexual inti macy with which you feel comfortable, whether than means none, holding hands, intercourse, or any of a mind-boggling variety of other forms of sexual activity.
Deciding to become sexually intimate with a partner can be a big step to take in a relationship, especially since, for many people, having sex involves an emotional commitment as well as a physical one. The decision to become sexually intimate with another person must also be considered in light of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that are prevalent among college students; many times infections may be asymptomatic, so someone may transmit the disease to another person unknowingly.
Becoming pregnant is also a fear in heterosexual relationships. Only a barrier method, like condoms or dental dams, can reduce the likelihood of the transmission of HIV and certain other STDs. Abstinence is the only completely effective method of preventing STDs, HIV and pregnancy. If you do choose to be sexually active, practicing safer sex, along with maintaining open communication with your partner, can reduce the risks discussed here.
Engaging in sexual intercourse can potentially be scary or dangerous ; discussing both the emotional and physical risks of sex and deciding with your partner how best to minimize those risks can be empowering and can make for an even more intimate sexual experience.
Practicing safer sex doesn't mean eliminating sex from your life. What safer sex does mean is being smart and staying healthy. It means showing love, concern, and respect for partners and for self. Safer sex means enjoying sex to the fullest wi thout transmitting, or acquiring, sexually related infections.
There are numerous sexually transmissible diseases; the consequences of some, like HIV and syphilis, may be deadly. All of them are caused by microorganisms which pass between partners during particular sexual activities. Safer sex means reducing the chance of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.
The Down Low - When the “Other Woman” is Another Man
The “down low” is a term used to describe the behavior of Black men who secretly have sex with other men while in marriages or relationships with other women. The men who do this do not consider themselves to be gay. The term “down low” originated in the Black community, and is used almost exclusively to describe Black men. But men of all races engage in this behavior.(Remember New Jersey governor James McGreevey?)
An Infidelity Thing
The down low is not a “black thing” or a “gay thing” – it’s an infidelity thing. The down low is basically another form of infidelity. The difference, however, is that rather than cheating with a woman, a man on the down low is cheating with another man. I prefer to call it “same-sex infidelity.”
Not an Uncommon Situation
The “down low” or “same sex infidelity is common enough to warrant its own support groups such as the Straight Spouse Network, Gay Married Men’s Association, and Wives of Bi/Gay Men, just to name a few. An estimated 2 million other couples have found themselves in this situation. There are now several books about the down low.