I attend a weekly women’s bible study at my church where we are currently studying Joyce Meyer’s book Confident Woman. Each week our bible study leader Reverend Adriane Blair Wise dissects this text as she teaches and reveals that God did not intend for women to live in fear and self-doubt but to be bold and confident as we navigate this thing we call life (Meyer, 2006).
Unfortunately for some, the message does not resonate and they end up making bad decisions that impact and change their lives forever. In this blog post I want to touch briefly on the dangerous compromise some women make in the name of loneliness. This discussion surrounds the high incidence of AIDS cases among Black women in the United States.
Here are the staggering facts:
- Black women account for 66% of new HIV infections among women
- 84% of all HIV/AIDS infections among Black women come from heterosexual contact
- HIV/AIDS is the third leading cause of death among Black women ages 25-44
- Black women are over 20 times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS than their White counterparts
I can barely wrap my head around these figures. In the past several decades, we have learned so much about this deadly disease and know that contraction is preventable. So, what is going on to explain these rates? Research points to poverty, feelings of denial in the Black community, the Down Low phenomenon, and loneliness. In the Black community, there appears to be a shortage of mates for Black women due to a lack of availability of Black male counterparts. Incarceration and perhaps lack of interest in pairing up with Black women are other reasons Black women may find themselves alone. Whatever the reason for the lack of Black female to male pairings, it has created a situation where some are engaging in dangerous sexual behaviors. There are some Black men leading double lives and are sleeping with both men and women. Or men incarcerated for long periods of time are engaging in same sex encounters and introduce HIV to their partners upon their return from prison. Due to the belief among these men that they are straight despite having intercourse with other men, they are playing Russian roulette and are having unprotected sex. Their female partners are oblivious and many have contracted the disease as a result.
The loneliness factor is an even more compelling reason as to why there is such a high incidence of HIV/AIDS among black women. Instead of being alone, some women are willing to share their men, which increase their risk of contracting the AIDS virus. What is so sad and disheartening is the fact that many Black women define their self-worth based on having a man. I know this to be true based on the bemoaning of friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. When you look at these women from the outside, you would want to be them. They are beautiful, attractive, highly educated, have great careers, and have everything money can buy. But their confidence is masked by these things because all they really want is someone to curl up beside them at night, to be loved, and to feel safe. In this powerful desire to be a part of ‘something,’ they compromise their values and forget or push aside what they have learned for a brief moment of passion so they feel important, however brief that time is. They forget that God created her in His image and they forget that they should never compromise the wonderful gift that they truly are.
When talking about HIV/AIDS, compromise simply is not an option. This is a terrible, ugly, painful, and deadly disease. Women must learn to love themselves first. If God has a man for you, then one day he will find you. In the meantime, we need to learn how to enjoy ourselves, our families, and life until that time comes~ boldly, assuredly, and confidently.
L.J. Follow me on Twitter: @CrimeDoc1213
#love #dating #HIV #AIDS #confidence #compromise #ConfidentWoman #loneliness #death #disease #blackwomen #rates #selflove #female #empowerment #ljsamuel #deardiary
Black Women’s Health Imperative (2013). Black women and HIV/AIDS. Retrieved from http://www.bwhi.org/issues-and-resources/black-women-and-hiv-aids
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015). HIV Among Women. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/gender/women/facts/index.html
Cohen, J. (2004, October 27). A silent epidemic? Why is there such a high percentage of HIV and AIDS among black women? Slate. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2004/10/a_silent_epidemic.2.html
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2014). Black Americans & HIVAIDS. Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/hivaids/fact-sheet/black-americans-and-hiv-aids/
Meyer, J. (2006). The confident woman. New York: Faith Words.
Weathersbee, T. (2004). Commentary: More afraid of loneliness than AIDS Deaths. Retrieved from DCSistagirlslistserv.