202209 Laying a foundation for reproductive health and HIV prevention among recent immigrant Latinas in Central North Carolina: A community-based participatory research approach

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:30 AM

Rebecca Ruth Cashman, MPH , Center for Health Equity Research, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA
Scott Rhodes, PhD, MPH, CHES , Social Sciences and Health Policy, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC
Eugenia Eng, MPH, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Florence Simán, MPH , El Pueblo, Inc., Raleigh, NC
Background: Research suggests that Latinas living in the U.S. are disproportionately affected by HIV and other STIs, and that barriers to accessing care and limited knowledge about specific women's health issues may lead to Latinas' decreased utilization of sexual and reproductive health services. These health disparities are reflected in the experiences of many North Carolina Latinas, particularly recent immigrants.

Methods: We conducted 4 focus groups totaling 43 Latina participants and 8 interviews with Latina-serving practitioners in central NC. Topics of inquiry included: Latinas' perceptions of and concerns about sexual and reproductive health and providers' perceptions of Latinas' principal sexual and reproductive health challenges.

Results: Findings revealed: lack of communication and education within Latino communities about sexual health and potential consequences of sexual activity; shame and embarrassment related to clinical exams and conversations about sex; and contraceptive misinformation. Participants suggested that an intervention include basic information about HIV/AIDS, STIs, and associated risks and prevention methods; education about contraceptives and pregnancy; the importance of physical exams; and ways to communicate about sex with partners and providers. Healthcare provider suggestions were congruent with those of the focus group participants. Additionally, they recommended including basic education about anatomy, the reproductive system, legality of abortion in the U.S., how to access women's health services, and how gender roles influence women's health.

Conclusions: A CBPR approach, coupled with consideration of recommendations from existing interventions and the literature, is effective in guiding the structure of a sexual health intervention with and for recent Latina immigrants.

Learning Objectives:
Identify strengths and challenges of existing sexual and reproductive health interventions available for Latinas. Describe Latinas’ perceptions of sexual and reproductive health concerns and health promoting actions, and their preferences for topics to be included in an intervention. Discuss Latina-serving healthcare providers’ perceptions of Latinas’ sexual and reproductive health challenges and the priorities to be addressed in an intervention. Articulate a process for the development of a sexual health intervention using a CBPR approach.

Keywords: Latinas, Reproductive Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I will be completing my Masters in Public Health in May, 2009, and have participated in projects related to Latino health in North Carlina since beginning my program in Fall 2007. I have been working closely with faculty at both UNC and Wake Forest on this particular CBPR project since Spring 2008, as well as with a community partner who advocates and designs programs for Latinos in North Carolina. I have received guidance from these individuals throughout the duration of this project. All of these mentors have extensive experience with CBPR, intervention development, and health disparities work; and they have published numerous manuscripts focused on these issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.