Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a major public health concern, and the rates of STDs among minority communities are especially high. This issue is often overlooked, but it’s important to understand why there is such a disparity and what can be done to address it.
What causes health disparities?
There are many factors that contribute to health disparities for minority communities. These factors include access to healthcare, poverty, language barriers, cultural differences, racism, and more. In the case of STDs specifically, these disparities exist because minority communities tend to have less access to preventive healthcare services and education. This leads to higher rates of STDs in these communities than among other populations.
A closer look at minority communities
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2020 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report where the effects of health disparities in minority communities can be seen clearly when examining the data on STD rates.
Among many racial and ethnic minority groups, research shows that there are higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases than those experienced by caucasian communities. Although many disparities arise from a person’s heritage or ethnicity, the broader social conditions are often at their root – poverty and income inequality; limited job opportunities; inadequate education levels. As these obstacles add up, it decreases sexual health for minorities in particular.
STD statistics by race
There are disparities in the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among different populations in the United States. According to the CDC, the reported rates of these conditions were:
- Chlamydia: Black females 5 times more than White females; Black males 6.8 times more than White males; Latinx Americans 1.9 times more than White Americans
- Gonorrhea: Black Americans 7.7 times more than White Americans; Black males 8.5 times more than White males; Black females 6.9 times more than White females; Latinx Americans 1.6 times more than White Americans; Latinx females 1.4 times more than White female; Latinx males 1.8 times more than White males
- Syphilis: Black Americans 4.7 times more than White Americans; Latinx Americans 2.2 times more than White Americans
- HIV: Black Americans 1.7 times more than White Americans; Latinx Americans 1.2 times more than White Americans
- HIV deaths from the disease: Black Americans with HIV 6.5 times more than White Americans with HIV
STD statistics by age and gender
Some racial and ethnic minority groups, gay and bisexual men, and American youths continue to experience higher rates of STDs.
- Youths: Teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, accounting for nearly half of the reported 26 million new cases due to their increased sexual activity.
- Women: Women are more vulnerable than men when it comes to the risk of contracting STIs. This is due in part to the delicate nature of their vaginal lining, which makes them more susceptible even though symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for other conditions such as yeast or urinary infections.
- Men who have sex with men (MSM): Men who have sex with other men are at an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections. This is due to their higher number of partners as well as certain sexual practices that make them more susceptible to different STIs such as HIV and syphilis compared to heterosexuals. In the United States specifically, MSM face a 1 in 6 lifetime risk for getting HIV and 11 times greater likelihood than heterosexual males when it comes to catching syphilis.
Get tested for STDs
Taking charge of your sexual health is important. At Nao Medical, our urgent care clinics provide discreet, comprehensive STD screening alongside prevention and treatment services. Whether you want a single test or to be proactive about safeguarding yourself overall, we’re here for you. With a visit to a Nao Medical near you, you can proudly take control over all aspects of your body’s well-being!