Yes today is World AIDS Day, designed to raise awareness of this still-devastating disease. Red is the color of the campaign. A few tragic statistics to start:

President Obama wrote the following in his World AIDS Day declaration:

Though we have been witness to incredible progress, our struggle against HIV/AIDS is far from over. With an infection occurring every nine-and-a-half minutes in America, there are more than one million individuals estimated to be living with the disease in our country. Of those currently infected, one in five does not know they have the condition, and the majority of new infections are spread by people who are unaware of their own status. HIV/AIDS does not discriminate as it infiltrates neighborhoods and communities. Americans of any gender, age, ethnicity, income, or sexual orientation can and are contracting the disease.

On the matter of “down low” brothers in the black community being responsible for our high infection rate, I refer to

jbrotherlove, referencing CNN’s Black Men In The Age Of Obama special:

Again, black men on “the down low” were blamed for the high HIV rates among black women. I had a fear the conversation would go that route despite evidence of the contrary. CDC Director Dr. Kevin Fenton recently stated HIV infection in black women “is being fueled by heterosexual Black men with multiple sex partners”.

Ta-Nehisi Coates way back in 2007

The Down Low theory, as an overarching explanation for the spread of HIV, has been debunked several times over (see here and to greater effect here). Last week, an article in the Annals of Epidemiology took the measure of available research in the field and concluded that “the DL was neither new nor limited to blacks and sufficient data linking it to HIV/AIDS disparities currently are lacking.” Researchers don’t deny the existence of closeted black men in committed relationships with women or that some of these men infect their spouses. But they’re skeptical about the Down Low as a primary explanation for the high rates of HIV among black women. And they also don’t think black men in relationships with women are more likely than other men to have closeted sex with men.

As for resources, here are three worth checking out

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