Are Black Women At Higher Risk For STDs?

woman on laptop laying down
Socioeconomic, cultural, and gender barriers limit the ability of some young women of color to receive information on sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, access culturally appropriate health care, and reduce sexual risks.

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Statistics by ethnicity can be misleading due to relationships between socioeconomic status and ethnicity; yet, illuminating the epidemiology of HIV in different populations may promote prevention efforts in under-served communities. The estimated prevalence of HIV and other STIs is especially high for young women of color many of whom lack health insurance and have little or no access to health care. A lack of well-funded prevention programs specifically addressing young women of color further limits the capacity of some these young women to protect themselves against HIV infection.

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Behavioral and Socioeconomic Factors Negatively Affect the Health of Young
Women of Color

Poverty and access to care—Young women of color are
disproportionately members of the working poor who often lack access to
affordable, culturally sensitive, and youth-friendly health services. As a
result many YWOC receive little preventive health information, including
strategies that reduce their risk for HIV infection.

—The largest category for being infected with HIV among women of
color is heterosexual contact—having sex with a man who uses injection drugs, is
HIV-infected, or whose HIV status is unknown to the young woman. For example, in
2002 among cumulative HIV/AIDS cases, 77 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander
women, 74 percent of African American women, 72 percent of Latinas, and 62
percent of Native American women reported heterosexual contact as their risk