Skip to main content
Journal cover image

Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL').

Publication ,  Journal Article
Ford, CL; Whetten, KD; Hall, SA; Kaufman, JS; Thrasher, AD
Published in: Annals of epidemiology
March 2007

The purpose of this commentary is to explain how social constructions of black sexuality are relevant to research targeting black sexual behavior and the ostensibly new and race-specific phenomenon known as "the Down Low" (the DL). The term "the DL" is widely used to refer to black men publicly presenting as heterosexual while secretly having sex with other men and presumably spreading human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) to unsuspecting women.We briefly review lay and public health literature from 1998 to 2004 about the DL, describe existing social constructions of black sexuality, discuss two implications for epidemiologic research, and offer recommendations to guide future research.The lifestyle referenced by the term the DL is neither new nor limited to blacks, and sufficient data linking it to HIV/AIDS disparities currently are lacking. Common perceptions about the DL reflect social constructions of black sexuality as generally excessive, deviant, diseased, and predatory. Research targeting black sexual behavior that ignores these constructions may unwittingly reinforce them.Unaddressed social constructions of black sexuality have implications for epidemiologic research targeting black sexual behavior. Explicit examination of these concerns is necessary to eliminate fundamental causes of health disparities.

Duke Scholars

Altmetric Attention Stats
Dimensions Citation Stats

Published In

Annals of epidemiology

DOI

EISSN

1873-2585

ISSN

1047-2797

Publication Date

March 2007

Volume

17

Issue

3

Start / End Page

209 / 216

Related Subject Headings

  • Social Environment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Prejudice
  • Male
  • Humans
  • HIV Infections
  • Epidemiology
  • Black or African American
  • Bisexuality
  • 11 Medical and Health Sciences
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
NLM
Ford, C. L., Whetten, K. D., Hall, S. A., Kaufman, J. S., & Thrasher, A. D. (2007). Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL'). Annals of Epidemiology, 17(3), 209–216. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2006.09.006
Ford, Chandra L., Kathryn D. Whetten, Susan A. Hall, Jay S. Kaufman, and Angela D. Thrasher. “Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL').Annals of Epidemiology 17, no. 3 (March 2007): 209–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2006.09.006.
Ford CL, Whetten KD, Hall SA, Kaufman JS, Thrasher AD. Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL'). Annals of epidemiology. 2007 Mar;17(3):209–16.
Ford, Chandra L., et al. “Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL').Annals of Epidemiology, vol. 17, no. 3, Mar. 2007, pp. 209–16. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.annepidem.2006.09.006.
Ford CL, Whetten KD, Hall SA, Kaufman JS, Thrasher AD. Black sexuality, social construction, and research targeting 'The Down Low' ('The DL'). Annals of epidemiology. 2007 Mar;17(3):209–216.
Journal cover image

Published In

Annals of epidemiology

DOI

EISSN

1873-2585

ISSN

1047-2797

Publication Date

March 2007

Volume

17

Issue

3

Start / End Page

209 / 216

Related Subject Headings

  • Social Environment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Prejudice
  • Male
  • Humans
  • HIV Infections
  • Epidemiology
  • Black or African American
  • Bisexuality
  • 11 Medical and Health Sciences