RACIAL/ETHNIC DISPARITIES AND STIs

Racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by sexually transmitted infections/diseases (STIs) (a higher rate of STI infections) and tend to have lower rates of diagnosis and treatment. There are a variety of reasons for this, including:

  • People who cannot afford basic needs may have trouble accessing quality sexual healthcare services.
  • Many racial/ethnic minorities may distrust the healthcare system (some fearing discrimination from medical providers).¬†This could create adversely affect someone wanting to get tested and/or treated for STIs.
  • Since many minority communities currently have a higher STI infection rate, sexually active people are more likely to get an STI because they have greater odds of selecting a partner(s) who is/are infected with an STI.
  • Some minorities may not have access to educational resources concerning STIs and the factors that sustain these epidemics.

Those factors promote disproportionately higher rates of STIs among Black people when compared to White people. According to the CDC, in 2018 the reported rates of cases of these conditions in the United States were:

  • Chlamydia: Black females 5 times more than White females; Black males 6.8 times more than White males.
  • Gonorrhea: Black people 7.7 times more than White people; Black males 8.5 times more than White males; Black females 6.9 times more than White females.
  • Syphilis: Black people 4.7 times more than White people.
  • HIV: Black people 1.7 times more than White people.
  • HIV deaths from the disease: Black people with HIV 6.5 times more than White people with HIV.

According to CDC statistics for 2018, the reported rates of cases of the same conditions among Hispanic people in the United States were:

  • Chlamydia: Hispanic people 1.9 times more than White people.
  • Gonorrhea: Hispanic people 1.6 times more than White people; Hispanic females 1.4 times more than White females; Hispanic males 1.8 times more than White males.
  • Syphilis: Hispanic people 2.2 times more than White people.
  • HIV: Hispanic people 1.2 times more than White people.

According to the CDC, in 2019, overall STI rates:

  • Black people were 5-8 times higher than for White people.
  • Native American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander people were 3-5 times that of White people.
  • Hispanic people were 1-2 times that of White people.

The lack of access to and/or distrust of our healthcare system can also make it more difficult for minority individuals to get tested and treated for STIs, which can lead to long-term health complications that can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall quality of life and/or shorten their life.

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