Both black and Hispanic women aged 20-24 show higher rates of STDs when compared to their male and white counterparts, but black women between 15 and 24 bear the greatest burden of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the United States.
In 2009, 1 in 10 of the reported cases of chlamydia, and close to 1 in 20 cases of gonorrhea were in young, black women. Unfortunately, due to the low testing rates among this population, it is likely these numbers are representative of only a portion of those infected with STDs.
It should also be noted that incidence of syphilis among young black men tripled between 2005 and 2009.
4. Young Black Women Who Live in the South
Gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis alike are all more prevalent in southern states and Alaska than in the rest of the country. Ranked by rate of STD, the top five states are all located in the “deep south” (Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas -- not necessarily in that order, depending on the specific disease).
These rates can be attributed to policy decisions, existing socio-economic disparities, unequal access to preventive medical care, and a variety of other sociological factors.
IMPORTANT NOTE: While these groups are especially affected by STDs, it doesn’t mean other populations aren’t also severely impacted. Reports indicate that men who have sex with men also have disproportionately high rates of STDs across age, race and geographical location. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that being a young woman of color, living in certain areas of the country predisposes you to contract a sexually transmitted disease. Being educated, empowered and open to choosing a healthy lifestyle can go a long way.
What are these healthy choices? The best ways to prevent STD transmission are:
1. Get educated and be aware of symptoms and risk factors.
2. Use condoms or other barrier protection. Every. Single. Time.
3. Communicate openly and honestly with your partner(s) about sexual health and the risks involved in intimacy.
4. Get tested! Often! Sometimes it is the only way to know you are infected, and it can literally save your life.