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The Lowdown on the DL?

The Lowdown on the DL?

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The ever-growing tendency in popular culture of black men being almost exclusively associated with what's come to be known as the 'down low' serves only to demonize African-American men, who have historically been the victims of sexual stereotypes, according to Chandra Ford, Ph.D, MPH. And the down-low stereotype is particularly dangerous, she adds, because it gives the misleading impression that black men are recklessly spreading HIV. Ford, one of the authors of the study 'Black Sexuality, Social Construction, and Research Targeting 'the Down Low,' ' says, 'The lifestyle referenced is neither new nor limited to blacks, and sufficient data linking it to HIV currently are lacking.' 'HIV is a major public-health issue for African-Americans, and we need all segments of our communities working together to fight it,' Ford says, stressing that aside from the stigma being attached to black men, another serious consequence is the influence that media reports on the down low have on medical researchers, who are not immune to what they read or see. This influence, the study authors say, may steer them away from looking at environmental factors that contribute to HIV among African-Americans, such as poverty, imprisonment, and lack of access to health care.

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