Ignorance Invites Infection with Minority Women and 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
● Ignorance that Blacks are the hardest hit of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
● Ignorance that despite the fact that Blacks account for 12 percent of the U.S. population, we represent over 50% of all HIV/AIDS cases.
● Ignorance that HIV/AIDS is now a major health crisis for Black women.
● Ignorance that HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for Black women 25-34 years of age.
● Ignorance that almost 70% of all newly diagnosed HIV-positive women in the United States are Black women.
● Ignorance that 62% of women living with HIV are Black women.
● Ignorance that Black women are 33 times more likely than white women to be living with HIV/AIDS.
● Ignorance that Black women are most likely to be infected with HIV as a result of unprotected sex with men who are HIV positive.
● Ignorance that the majority of Black men who are HIV positive have no idea they are infected.
● Ignorance that exposure to another sexually-transmitted disease like gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia can increase her risk of getting HIV.
● Ignorance that Blacks with AIDS don’t live as long as people of other races who have AIDS.
● Ignorance that there is NO CURE for HIV/AIDS, but there are treatments that can help manage the disease and keep it from getting worse.
Ignorance of Lifestyle Circumstances that Put You at Risk for HIV/AIDS
● Ignorance that your husband or boyfriend is a potential source of HIV/AIDS.
● Ignorance of your sex partner’s sexual history, or his true sexual orientation.
● Ignorance that your husband or boyfriend has other sex partners, and that you are not in a monogamous relationship as you assumed.
● Ignorance that your husband or boyfriend is sexually involved with another man, and that you is a victim of same sex infidelity.
● Ignorance that the most common way for a you, as a Black woman to become infected with HIV is by having unprotected sex with a Black man on the down low.
● Ignorance about how to accurately determine if your husband or boyfriend is on the down low.
● Ignorance about your man’s HIV status – that he may be HIV positive, and may have already infected you with HIV.
● Ignorance about your own HIV status.
● Ignorance that if you are HIV positive, early treatment can keep the disease from turning into full blown AIDS.
Your ignorance in any one of the areas above can leave you open to infection from HIV.
Educate Yourself About HIV/AIDS
The best way to overcome your ignorance in these areas is to educate yourself and your sisters about HIV/AIDS. Remember - ignorance invites infection. Knowledge is power. The more you know about HIV/AIDS, and how it’s transmitted, and the lifestyle factors that put you at risk for this disease, the less likely you’ll be to engage in behavior that can jeopardize your health. It would be a tragedy if you were to become infected with HIV through no fault of your own, simply because of something you didn’t know.
Abstain, or practice safe sex.
Get tested. Know your own and your partner’s HIV status. To locate a testing center near you, visit hivtest.org or, on your cell phone, text your zip code to Know IT (566948).
If you are, or have been sexually involved with a man whose HIV status you don’t know, GET TESTED RIGHT AWAY. The longer you wait to find out, the worse it will be for your health later on, if it turns out that you’re HIV positive.
2 Resources to Help Overcome Ignorance About Black Women and HIV/AIDS
In an effort to combat some of the ignorance surrounding Black women, the “down low” and HIV/AIDS, I’ve compiled the following resources:
Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz
A Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz designed to help Black women identify the gaps in their knowledge and behavior in their lifestyles that put them at risk for HIV/AIDS. This quiz will help you pinpoint any changes you need to make in order to safeguard your health and reduce your chances of becoming an HIV/AIDS statistic.
The Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz can be found on my blog about Black Women, the Down Low and HIV/AIDS at http://blackwomen-thedownlow-hivaids.blogspot.com/ Take the quiz. Share it with your female friends and relatives, and encourage them to take it too. Your health, your well-being, your very life depends on being well informed. Ignorance invites infection.
The Down Low Dozen Tip Sheet
Part 1 of this free 2-part tip sheet describes a discreet 3-step procedure for finding out your man is on the down low, without the risk of looking foolish or making false accusations. Part 2 of theDown Low Dozen tip sheet provides practical advice on what to do if you find out your husband or boyfriend is on the down low, tips how to confront him about his down low status, questions to ask, precautions to take, and how to find places to get help.
For a FREE copy of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet, e-mail DownLowDozen@gmail.com with “DL Dozen-bw” in the subject line. Ignorance invites infection. If your man is on the Down low, you can’t afford to be the last to know.
Author: Ruth Houston: Infidelity Expert
Infidelity expert Ruth Houston is the founder of www.InfidelityAdvice.com and the author of Is He Cheating on You? - 829 Telltale Signs, which lists practically every known sign of infidelity, including the subtle signs people usually overlook.