Cultural Considerations for Addressing Risk for STIs
By VivianÂ CortÃ©s,Â MPH
ByÂ theÂ endÂ ofÂ thisÂ lesson,Â participantsÂ willÂ beÂ ableÂ to:
1. Identify sexual stereotypesÂ that may be associated with various populations.
2. ExplainÂ howÂ stereotypesÂ mayÂ be related to behaviorsÂ thatÂ putÂ various populations atÂ riskÂ for sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS.
3. IdentifyÂ waysÂ toÂ addressÂ riskÂ within various cultural populations.
TheÂ HIV/AIDSÂ epidemicÂ isÂ a threatÂ toÂ everyone; however there are certain populations who appear to be at increased risk for infection with HIV. Of all racial and ethnic groups, HIV/AIDS has hit African-Americans the hardest. HIV/AIDS is a leading cause of death for African-Americans and other blacks.Â Also, the rateÂ ofÂ newÂ AIDSÂ diagnoses among Latino men is three times that of white men, and the rate among Latina women is five times that of white women.Â High-risk heterosexual contact continues to be a risk factor for infection with HIV among populations of color, especially among Latinas and African-American women. Research shows that the majority of HIV cases among Latinas continues to be in women exposed to the virus through heterosexual intercourse.Â KnowledgeÂ ofÂ saferÂ sex methods and awareness of oneâ€™s risk for HIV is necessary; however these do not always translate into safer sex behavior. Simply providing HIV/AIDS prevention information is insufficient if it fails to recognize the cultural context within which women and men makeÂ their decisions. This lesson helps participants identify and become aware of possible stereotypes and/or beliefs that may be associated with oneâ€™sÂ riskÂ forÂ sexuallyÂ transmittedÂ infections.
Note: This lesson needs to be delivered by a culturally competent facilitator who can lead the group in sensitive, respectful discussion. ParticipantsÂ mayÂ be more receptive to the lesson if it is presented by someone who is of the same racial, ethnic or cultural background as their own.