Phil Wilson
PAGE 7
The dangers are high when you're living on the down low—a man's risky lifestyle could be deadly to himself and his sexual partners. Phil Wilson, the director of the Black AIDS Institute, says living on the down low is a new label for a behavior that's been going on for a long time. "The issue now is that we live in a more dangerous time," he says.

In 2004, black women accounted for 72 percent of all new female AIDS cases. "We should be outraged by that," Phil says.

There are a number of reasons this number is so high. First, Phil says black women don't think that they're at risk. Also, there's an unwillingness to talk about sexually transmitted diseases. "If you're unable to talk to your sexual partner about his sexual history, then maybe this is not the person you should be having sex with," Phil says. "It takes two people to transmit the virus. It only takes one person to stop it."

4 Ways to Prevent the Spread of AIDS:

  • Get informed about HIV and AIDS. "What you know can save your life," Phil says.

  • Get tested. "Knowing your HIV status can save your life," he says.

  • People who test positive need to get into treatment. "AIDS is not the automatic death sentence it once was," he says. "Treatment can save your life, but you've got to know your status."

  • Get involved. "At the end of the day, only when we are involved will we stop this epidemic," Phil says.
Learn more about HIV Awareness
FROM: A Secret Sex World: Living on the Down Low
Published on April 16, 2004

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