All Articles Tagged "chlamydia"
All of you who cry foul whenever a new study points out the “alarming” rates of STDs among minorities may be on to something. A new study by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute has found that young minority women are screened for chlamydia at a significantly higher rate than young white women, and this discrepancy may contribute to nationwide reporting of higher rates of this sexually transmitted disease among black and Hispanic women.
In the study, which is published in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers looked at the screening rates for 40,000 young women ages 14 to 25 and found black women were 2.7 times more likely to be screened for chlamydia than white women. For Hispanic young women that rate was 9.7 times higher. Race wasn’t the only thing that led to higher testing rates, though, women with public insurance also had greater odds of chlamydia testing, compared with women with private insurance.
“For some common conditions like breast cancer, white women are more likely to receive a screening test like mammography. For chlamydia infections – which are highly stigmatized STDs – white women are less likely, while minority women are more likely, to receive screening,” said the study’s first author Sarah E. Wiehe, MD, MPH, assistant professor of pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and a Regenstrief Institute affiliated scientist. “This may mean that providers make judgments about a woman’s likelihood of infection based on her race or ethnicity. Yet in an asymptomatic condition like chlamydia, all sexually active young women should be screened.”
It’s definitely true that you always find what you’re looking for, and if doctors are sticklers for testing minority women it’s no wonder they find STDs at the rates that they do. While they’re spending time profiling minority women, they may want to pay a little more attention to what’s going on in white people’s backyards as well. These results obviously don’t take away from the fact that we still have an issue with STDs in our community, but healthcare advocates may need to slow down on making chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases “black issues” and start screening white women at equal rates.
Are you regularly asked to be tested for chlamydia and other STDs?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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I don’t know about you, but pretty much any time I hear a new stat on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), I have the urge to run out and get tested. I could have literally just left the doctor’s office with the OK after a battery of tests and still feel the need to make sure I’m actually clean as a whistle.
The stigma, the thought of having to explain a sexually transmitted disease to a new partner, and the effect of an STD on my overall health weigh on my mind too heavily to do otherwise. And the idea that somewhere down the line a disease could prevent me from having children is a fear that shakes me when I think about possibly contracting an STD.
A new report from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention shows that black people have the worst rates of STDs overall—even despite the recent drop in the spread of syphilis.
- Rates of Chlamydia among African-Americans are about 1,383 per 100,000, compared with 467 per 100,000 among Hispanics and 166 per 100,000 for whites.
- Rates of gonorrhea for whites are 26 per 100,000. Among Hispanics, rates are about three times that at 63 per 100,000, and among African Americans, the rates are 512 per 100,000.
- Rates of syphilis have fallen to 2.4 per 100,000 for whites, 5.9 per 100,000 Hispanics, and 20 per 100,000 for African Americans.
I think people tend to look at STDs the way I used to look at cancer. I know how prevalent cancer is, but because I never knew anyone personally affected by it until a few months ago, it was just an abstract concept. We hear about the rates of STDs and HIV in our community so much, but I think we don’t quite understand what those numbers mean. If we’ve gotten off the hook before with a disease scare, we’re probably even more likely to think it can’t happen to us or that there aren’t really as many infected people as there truly are.
But numbers don’t lie, and people in the African-American community are the most impacted by STDs of all groups.
Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, says the cause of the disparity is not racial. He told the press recently: “It’s not because someone is black or Hispanic or white that results in the differences that we see in STDs. It’s really what these represent in terms of differences in health insurance coverage, employment status, in ability to access preventive services or curative services. These are all factors which are going to have a huge impact on communities as well as individuals who are vulnerable to acquiring STDs or not getting them diagnosed early.”