Black and Latino bisexual men are fueling HIV infection rates among minority women in part because the women often are not told that their boyfriends and husbands also have sex with men, according to a new study conducted by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "What underlies this problem is our unacceptance of homosexuality," said lead study author Eve Mokotoff.
The study found that 34% of HIV-positive African-American men said they had sex with both men and women, followed by 26% of HIV-positive Latino men. Of the HIV-positive women studied, 14% of white women knew their partner engaged in bisexual behavior, but only 6% of black and Latino women knew of such behavior by their partners. The researchers conclude that homophobia in minority communities, which is typically stronger than that seen among whites, prevents many bisexual men of color from talking about their sexual behavior with their female partners, putting the women at risk for HIV infection.
Phill Wilson, executive director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said the study is further proof that minority women must educate themselves about HIV prevention, talk with their sex partners about possible high-risk behaviors, and insist that their partners be tested for HIV antibodies.