Condoms_in_the_Prisons

Condoms_in_the_Prisons - September 7, 2004 EDITORIAL...

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September 7, 2004 EDITORIAL OBSERVER Fighting the AIDS Epidemic by Issuing Condoms in the Prisons By BRENT STAPLES he novelist E. Lynn Harris has become a fixture on the best-seller list and a favorite among black women by writing steamy books about men who live "on the down low" - men who cheat on wives and girlfriends by having sex with other men. The fear of men "on the down low" is now palpable among black women, who are more than 20 times as likely to contract AIDS as white women and are understandably anxious about protecting themselves. This fixation has also become a cottage industry, dealt with in books, The hyperbole and exaggeration surrounding the "down low" has taken the public health debate in a counterproductive direction. It has spread paranoia and pushed a much-needed discussion about bisexual behavior further underground. Moreover, it has kept the country from focusing on the long-neglected connection between H.I.V. and the prison system, where infection rates are high and unprotected sex among male inmates is far more common than prison officials care to admit. Men who have sex with men in prison pose an enormous threat to women when they return to the outside world and heterosexual behavior. In any given year, 35 percent of the people with tuberculosis, nearly a third of those with hepatitis C and 17
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Condoms_in_the_Prisons - September 7, 2004 EDITORIAL...

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