Health disparities occur when there are differences in health status that are associated with social or economic disadvantages. Racial and ethnic disparities occur when those differences are associated with race or ethnicity. The Health Equity Coalition is committed to eliminating the health disparities that exist for many conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Health disparities also exist for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Minorities, particularly African Americans, make up the majority of people diagnosed with STDs each year. Societal factors (economic, environmental, and cultural) contribute to the risk of acquiring an STD by influencing sexual behavior, norms and risks.
- African Americans account for about 50% of reported HIV/AIDS cases in the US.
- This is also the racial group most affected by HIV/AIDS in Hillsborough County.
- Three times as many black men have HIV/AIDS than white men.
- Twelve times as many black women have HIV/AIDS than white women.
Click here for more information on disparities in HIV in Hillsborough County.
- Gonorrhea is the disease with the largest disparity between African Americans and whites.
- It is 18 times more prevalent among African Americans than whites.
- 70% of the reported cases of gonorrhea occurred among African Americans.
- The prevalence of syphilis among African Americans is seven times higher than the rate among whites
- 48% of all chlamydia cases occurred among African Americans.
- The prevalence of chlamydia among African Americans is 9 times higher than the rate among whites.
Addressing Disparities in STDs
- Communication: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, effective, strategic health communication is critical to eliminating racial health disparities. It is important to develop strategies that will engage African Americans and deliver the right messages.
- Misconceptions: Research indicated that socioeconomic status, poverty, and geography contribute to disparities in STDs; however risky sexual behavior does not.
- Understanding: Disparities in access to quality health care include patient misinformation, distrust of the health care system, and perceptions of provider discrimination from the health provider community.
To eliminate these disparities, patient education, investments at the health care delivery level and increased cultural competency among providers, policymakers, and advocates are critical.