Monday, December 1, 2008

Ignorance Invites Infection with Black Women and HIV/AIDS

I’m convinced that ignorance is largely responsible for the high rates of HIV/AIDS among Black women. I refuse to believe that a Black women in full possession of all the facts regarding HIV/AIDS would willingly put herself at risk for HIV/AIDS.

As an infidelity expert and 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 Black women are contracting HIV. I think a major part of the problem is that many Black women are unaware of the facts about HIV/AIDS – the statistics, methods of transmission, the prevalence of the disease among Black women, and circumstance and situations in their lifestyles that put them at risk for this disease.

Far too many Black women are ignorant about these things concerning HIV/AIDS, and that ignorance invites infection.

For Black women, ignorance about HIV/AIDS can take many forms. But if you’re like most Black women, your ignorance regarding HIV/AIDS will fall into two main categories:

1. ignorance about the latest facts and statistics regarding Black 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 Black women at risk for HIV/AIDS.

Ignorance About HIV/AIDS Facts And Statistics

● Ignorance that that HIV/AIDS is no longer a predominantly gay white male disease, but is now a predominantly Black disease, with Black women being the highest risk category.

● 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 the Down 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.


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The Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz

This HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz was designed by infidelity expert Ruth Houston to help Black women identify the gaps in their knowledge and behavior in their lifestyles which put them at risk for HIV/AIDS.

The quiz will help them pinpoint any changes they need to make in order to safeguard their health.

Does your lifestyle put you at risk for HIV/AIDS? Are you in danger of becoming an HIV/AIDS statistic because of something you don’t know?

Before you say “no,” take this Black Woman’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz for World AIDS Day. You might be surprised to find out just how vulnerable you really are.

1. Do you know your HIV status?

2. Do you know the HIV status of your husband, boyfriend, or current sex partner(s)?

3. Do you know the HIV status of the ex partners you’ve had in the past?

4. Do you know your sex partner’s sexual history?

5. Do you know your sex partner’s true sexual orientation?

6. If you’re sexually active, do you always insist on a condom?

7. Do you still think of AIDS as a gay white male disease?

8. Are you aware that almost 70% of newly diagnosed HIV positive women are Black?

9. Are you aware that Black women are 33 times more likely than white women to be living with HIV/AIDS?

10. Do you know how to tell if your husband or boyfriend is on the down low?

11. Do you take it for granted that you’re in a monogamous relationship?

12. If your husband or boyfriend is cheating, has it occurred to you that his partner might actually be another man?

13. Do you feel you don’t have to worry about contracting HIV/AIDS because you’re married or in a committed relationship?

14. Do you believe you can tell whether or not a man is HIV positive just by looking at him?

15. Are you aware that as a Black woman, you are in the highest risk category for HIV/AIDS?

16. Are you aware that HIV/AIDS is the leading killer of Black women, ages 25-34?

17. Have you ever considered the possibility that you could be a victim of same-sex infidelity?

18. Do you believe a down low brother can be identified by the way he looks, acts, dresses or talks?

19. Are you aware that unprotected sex with an HIV positive man is the most common way for Black women to become infected with HIV?

20. Are you aware that the majority of Black men who are HIV positive have no idea they are infected?

21. Are you aware that exposure to another sexually-transmitted disease like gonorrhea, syphilis, or chlamydia can increase your risk of getting HIV?

22. Are you aware that Blacks with AIDS have shorter life spans than people of other races who have HIV?

23. Are you aware that there is NO CURE for HIV/AIDS?

24. Are you aware that early treatment of HIV/AIDS can keep the disease from turning into full blown AIDS?

25. Are you aware that ignorance about HIV/AIDS invites infection?

© copyright 2008 Ruth Houston, founder of http://www.infidelityadvice.com/ and http://blackwomen-thedownlow-hivaids.blogspot.com/

Answer Key:

The correct answer for numbers 7,11,13,14,and 18 is no. All other answers should be yes. Realize that even one wrong answer can put you at risk for HIV/AIDS. The more wrong answers you have, the more at risk you are for contracting HIV/AIDS, simply because of something you may not know.

Ignorance invites infection. Educate yourself about HIV/AIDS. Share this Black Woman's HIV/AIDS Awareness Quiz with your female friends and relatives. By becoming more knowledgeable about HIV/AIDS and how it’s transmitted, and making a few changes in your lifestyle, you can avoid becoming another HIV/AIDS statistic.

Find out if Your Husband or Boyfriend is on the Down Low

Get a FREE Copy of the Down Low Dozen Tip Sheet

Compiled by infidelity expert Ruth Houston, the Down Low Dozen Tip sheet is a FREE 2-part tip sheet which describes a discreet 3-step method Black women can use to find out if their husbands or boyfriends are on the “down low,” or engaging in same sex infidelity.

Part 1 tells what signs to look for and what questions to ask. Part 2 of the Down Low Dozen tip sheet provides practical advice on what to do if you find out your husband or boyfriend is on the down low, how to confront him about his down low status, additional questions to ask, precautions to take, and how to find places to get help. Get a FREE copy by e-mailing DownLowDozen@gmail.com with DL Dozen-bw in the subject line. If your man is on the down low, you can’t afford to be the last to know.

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