Masters Thesis

A Systematic Review of Sexual Health Education and Intervention Programs for Black Women in the United States

The HIV pandemic has plagued the globe for over three decades, establishing research investigating sexual behaviors and assessing interventions which are meant to improve sexual health as major priorities in recent years. Therefore, it is important to analyze domestic perspectives of the global problem in order to alleviate disease burdens within certain communities. Using Black women in the United States as a domestic example of a vulnerable population who is in need of a number of culturally competent and accessible health interventions, this paper will be a review of sexual health education and interventional programs meant to alleviate health disparities faced by American adult and adolescent Black women, and will be compared to global sexual health data on current trends and interventions being implemented. Black American women are disproportionately burdened by sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STD/Is), especially HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Due to a long history of colonization, slavery, and racism executed by Western Europeans as they went on their conquest of the globe, the remnants of which has instilled itself in our current system, the sexual and reproductive health of Black women in America has been significantly compromised in a negative way. This group is vulnerable due to lack of representation in programs, medical mistrust, lack of cultural competency and humility in healthcare and interventions, and lack of access to said healthcare and interventions. Alleviating the sexual health disparities of this population will lead to improved maternal and infant health, which aligns with the goals of improving global reproductive health for women, making this review an important contribution to the research needed to improve intervention and education efforts for specific cultural/ethnic groups. Understanding what works and does not work in these educational and intervention programs is crucial to forming more successful ones in the future.