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June 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has issued a “Call to Action,” urging its supporters to sign an online petition protesting comments by two black panelists on ABC’s The View about the spread of HIV-AIDS among African-American women. Host Sherri Shepherd and guest host D.L. Hughley, the group said, “perpetuated dangerous myths … about the causes of increased HIV rates among African-American women and used the phrase ‘down low’ to describe men who have sex with men but publicly identify as heterosexual.” Asked what the term “down low” means, Shepherd replied, “The down low is black men who’ve been going out. They are having sex with men and they’re not telling their girlfriends or their wives.” Hughley added that the disease is spread “primarily” by “young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low.” GLAAD, however, cited a study by the Centers for Disease Control that determined that “infections coming from male partners who are bisexual … are actually relatively few.” [The operative word here may be “primarily,” since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has identified as one of the four leading causes of the spread of AIDS “African-American men “on the down low.’ … This describes men who have sex with men and women, but who do not identify themselves as gay or bisexual. African-American women may not be aware of their partners’ HIV risk factors.”]