208496 Sexual beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of Hispanic adolescents in economically-disadvantaged border communities in Texas

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:30 PM

Sheetal Malhotra, MBBS, MS , The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, Austin, TX
Rebecca Palacios, PhD , Border Research Solutions, El Paso, TX
Katherine Hendricks, MD, MPH , The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, Georgetown, TX
Minority communities are disproportionately affected by sexual health problems. Two predominantly-Hispanic border communities in Texas demonstrate high teen pregnancy rates. Most of the adolescents in these communities live below the poverty line.

Objective: To 1) identify prevalent sexual beliefs, attitudes and behaviors, and 2) discuss culturally appropriate sexual health approaches for Hispanic border community adolescents.

Methods: We conducted 4 focus groups – one each for high school boys, high school girls, middle school boys, and middle school girls. During the focus groups, participants were asked to discuss their life goals, sexual activity, pregnancy, reasons for having sex, and other risk behaviors.

Results: Each focus group comprised 8-12 participants. Middle school participant age ranged from 11-15 years; high school range was 15-18 years. Participants discussed that their peers start “messing around” by 11-12 years of age. High school students gave younger estimates for age of initiation for both oral sex (~14 years) and vaginal sex (13-14 years) compared to the middle school students (15-17 years for oral sex, and 17-18 years for vaginal sex). Reasons for having sex included peer pressure, alcohol and drug use, desire to experiment, and to get attention or to escape problems at home. Barriers to sexual activity included fear of pregnancy and infections, desire to wait until marriage, involvement in other activities, keeping “off the streets,” experiences of teen parents, parental disapproval, and religion.

Conclusion: Focus groups are an effective for obtaining belief, attitude, and behavior information to develop appropriate sexual health programs for minority border adolescents.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe prevalent sexual beliefs, attitudes and behaviors in Hispanic adolescents in border communities in Texas 2. Discuss approaches to provide sexual health education to adolescent based on their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors

Keywords: Hispanic, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: NA

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator and evaluator for the program
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.