Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations


Social Determinants of Sexual Behavior and Awareness of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Among Low-Income HIV+ or STI At-Risk Hispanic Residents Receiving Care at the U.S.–Mexico Border

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U.S.–Mexico border communities are uniquely vulnerable to sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission given the economic and social challenges these communities face. This study examines how marginalized statuses of U.S. border residents are associated with STI awareness and sexual behaviors. We surveyed low-income residents receiving STI testing and/or HIV/AIDS care in the lower Rio Grande Valley of southernmost Texas. Respondents aged 18+ took a self-administered survey available in English or Spanish in a clinic waiting room (N = 282). Approximately 52% of respondents reported being HIV+, and 32% of respondents reported having a prior STI other than HIV. Although most respondents had heard of HPV (72%), awareness of the HPV vaccine was low across all subgroups (28%), including women (< 35%), reflecting previous findings that border residents are less knowledgeable about the HPV vaccine. Almost half of respondents reported always using a condom (45%), which is higher than elsewhere in the U.S. Male and non-Hispanic respondents had higher estimated prevalence ratios (PR) of lifetime partners [PR 1.39 (95% confidence interval 1.43–3.68), PR 1.88 (1.04–3.41), respectively] and sexual partners met online [PR 3.73 (1.00–14.06), PR 19.98 (5.70–70.10), respectively]. Sexual minority, non-Hispanic, and male respondents had higher adjusted odds ratios (AOR) of utilizing the internet to find sexual partners than their peers [AOR 2.45 (1.60–3.87), AOR 1.52 (1.11–2.07), AOR 1.97 (1.20–3.24), respectively], placing them at greater STI-transmission risk. We found diversity in dimensions of STI awareness and sexual behaviors in our sample. Results can help tailor public health interventions to the unique STI risks of marginalized groups in border communities.


© 2018, Springer Science Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature

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Journal of Community Health