When it comes to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), Black women still rank at the top with the highest rates of infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Black women between the ages of 15 to 24 have the highest rates of chlamydia and syphilis. With all the information on safe sex and efforts to reduce HIV infection in Black women, why do young Black women still have high rates of STDs? While factors such as poverty and a lack of health education can affect Black women’s engagement in risky sexual behavior, a recent study on sexual health and Black women identified three areas that impact whether Black women at different ages engage in risky sexual behavior — affecting their risk to contract STDs. Those factors are depression, parental relationships, and self-image.
A recent study showed that Black women ages18-27 who reported higher levels of depression also reported engaging in riskier sexual behavior. For young Black women, depression may manifest itself in risky sexual behavior. Therefore, empowering young Black women through health education and formal and informal social support systems such as social groups, families, and mentor programs may prevent their engagement in risky sexual behavior as a means to deal with depression. This information is also beneficial for physicians and other healthcare professionals when dealing with young Black women who may be depressed to ensure that they are educating them on how to handle stress and the importance of practicing safe sex at all times.
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