Press Release

April 11, 2005

State public health director to give opening remarks

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A book signing by an author who uses her book to urge African-American women to be empowered in their relationships and to get tested for HIV/AIDS will be held Tuesday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health is sponsoring the event to help raise awareness about the epidemic’s impact on women of color. Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, will give opening remarks. He will speak on minority health issues, especially those pertaining to women of color, and the impact of HIV/AIDS.

Brenda Stone Browder, author of “On the Up and Up,” is the ex-wife of J.L. King, who publicized the “down low” phenomenon through his own book. Men living on the down low secretly have sex with other men while being in a relationship with a woman.

Browder also serves as a lay speaker at Covenant United Methodist Church in Springfield, Ohio, and is a student of theology.

In her book, she shares her story about discovering and dealing with her husband being on the down low. She also tells women what to look for, what to do once they discover their man in on the down low, and how to find the strength to do what needs to be done.

The secretiveness about homosexuality can be deadly. Black women are the largest growing risk group for HIV and AIDS. Browder believes the down low phenomenon is partly to blame.

In Illinois, a total of 2,333 cases of HIV were reported in 2003. Of those cases, African-American women accounted for 424 cases, while white women accounted for 106. For the same year, there were 1,470 cases of AIDS reported in the state, of which 213 were African-American women, compared to 51 white women.

The book signing will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the atrium of the Illinois State Library, 300 S. Second St. in Springfield.

The event is being held during Minority Health Month. IDPH calendars detailing other Minority Health Month events, messages from Dr. Whitaker and health tips regarding Breast and Cervical Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Prostate Cancer and the State of Illinois AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP), are available by calling 217-785-4311 or by visiting the Department’s Web site at

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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