Online Program

Acculturation as a correlate for unprotected sex among puerto rican drug users in New York City

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Rafael E. Perez Figueroa, MD, MPH, Center for Health, Identity Behavior and Prevention Studies; Steinhardt school of culture, education, and human development, New York University, New York City, NY
Farzana Kapadia, PhD MPH, College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY
Yumary Ruiz, PhD, MPH, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York, NY
Danielle Ompad, PhD, College of Global Public Health, New York University, New York, NY
Background: Findings have been inconsistent regarding the relationship between acculturation and sexual risk behaviors such as unprotected sex. Puerto Rican drug users have been found to be at elevated risk of HIV/AIDS since early in the epidemic. Exploring how acculturation may influence risk is important to develop effective prevention programs for this population.

Methods: We examined the relationship between acculturation and unprotected sex among Puerto Rican drug users who reside in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in New York City (n=409). Data for this analysis come from a cross-sectional study of a racially/ethnically diverse sample of current and former drug users. Robust Poisson regression models were constructed to examine the associations between acculturation and unprotected sex.

Results: The sample was 77.5% male and 88.0% heterosexual with 62.6% reporting unprotected sex. Younger age, injecting drugs, having a main partner, birth in Puerto Rico, and first generation immigration status were associated with unprotected sex. After controlling for main partner and injection drug use, less acculturated participants were more likely to report unprotected sex. Among the acculturation factors examined, language use was the strongest predictor of unprotected sex whereby individuals that reported greater use of Spanish compared with English were more likely to report unprotected sex.

Conclusion: Different levels of acculturation appear to represent a distinct context for sexual risk taking among this sample. A more comprehensive and in-depth consideration of the multiple domains of cultural factors on sexual risk-taking is critical to develop targeted public health strategies among Puerto Ricans drug users.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the implications of acculturation on unprotected sexual behavior among a sample of Puerto Rican drug users in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods of New York City Discuss how language may impact unprotected sexual behavior as Puerto Rican drug users acculturate.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities, Drug Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow of Public Health at New York University. My research examines HIV, drug use, and sexually transmitted infections among sexual, racial, and ethnic minorities.
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.