Medical News

Ethnic/Racial Homogeneity and Sexually Transmitted Disease: A Study of 77 Chicago Community Areas

February 24, 2009

"Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain an intractable public health problem in the United States," with wide ethnic and racial disparities persisting in reported STD cases, the authors of the current study wrote. "Blacks and Hispanics have higher rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea than European Americans," they noted.

To examine the association of ethnic/racial homogeneity in communities and incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea, the researchers used 2002 data from 77 well-defined Chicago communities. Multivariate regression models controlled for other sociodemographic variables.

Communities where at least 60 percent of residents were black had significantly higher incidence rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea compared with communities where Hispanics comprised at least 60 percent of the population. Independent of the ethnic/racial homogeneity of the community, incidence of these STDs was higher in communities with higher poverty rates, a larger percentage of unemployed, fewer high school graduates, and more residents ages 15 to 44.

"The challenge for public health authorities is to consider policy options that respond not only to sexual risk behaviors, but also to the contextual attitudes, cultural traditions, and norms, and social circumstances in ethnically homogenous communities that may affect the spread of STDs in disadvantaged urban populations," the authors concluded.

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Adapted from:
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
02.2009; Vol. 36; No. 2: P. 108-111; Mark S. Kaplan, DrPH; Carlos J. Crespo, DrPH; Nathalie Huguet, PhD; Gary Marks, PhD

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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