Segment on ABC's 'The View' Perpetuates Dangerous Myths About Gay and Bi Black Men

By GLAAD |
June 24, 2010

GLAAD is reaching out to ABC's "The View" following a problematic segment on the June 22 broadcast.  During a discussion about the FDA ban on blood donation by gay and bi men, guest host D.L. Hughley and regular View host Sherri Shepherd communicated misinformation about the causes of increased HIV rates among African American women, essentially blaming gay and bi men for the trend.

Update: Take action now at www.glaad.org/2010/calltoaction/theview/takeaction

While other View regulars Joy Behar and Elisabeth Hasselbeck chimed in at times with questions and comments, along with the other guest host, Thomas Roberts, Hughley and Shepherd put forth false and dangerous information that scapegoated gay and bi men.  Had these hosts done their homework they could have easily found that these myths have been debunked by the Centers for Disease Control.

From the National Prevention Information Network:

Heterosexual black men with multiple sex partners - not bisexual men who secretly have sex with men - are responsible for high rates of HIV among black women, according to a senior CDC official.

“We have looked to see what proportion of infections is coming from male partners who are bisexual and found there are actually relatively few,” said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “More are male partners who are having female partners and are injecting drugs or using drugs or have some other risks that may put those female partners at risk of acquiring HIV.”

Black women make up 61 percent of all new HIV cases among women in the United States and have an HIV prevalence rate nearly 18 times that of white women.

Yet even with this information readily available Hughley and Shepherd made a series of faulty comments including these:

Hughley:  When you look at the prevalence of HIV in the African American Community- it's primarily young women who are getting it from men who are on the down low.  That's the thing.

Shepherd:  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 that they're gay and their husbands as well and it's very prevalent with African American women. Because they come home and have sex with their wives or their girlfriends. And they're not telling them that they're gay.

Shepherd: It's so big in the Black community with women because they're having unprotected sex with men who have been having sex with... with men.

GLAAD is in touch with representatives of "The View" asking for an explanation, an apology and a follow-up segment with credible information on this topic. We'll keep you posted on their response.

In the meantime we encourage you to contact the View here to voice your concerns. Take action now at www.glaad.org/2010/calltoaction/theview/takeaction

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