Online Program

If I went to my mom with that information, I'm dead. Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Knowledge among immigrant Somali Youth in Ohio

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Caroline Kingori, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Gillian Ice, PhD, MPH, Department of Social Medicine and Director of Global Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Qorsho Hassan, BA, Ashland University, Ashland, OH
Abdul Elmi, BA, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background: Columbus, Ohio has the second largest Somali community in the U.S.A., (approximately 45,000 people). This community has unmet health needs which are complicated by language and cultural barriers. Purpose: This pilot study examines the barriers to acquisition of sexual health knowledge in Somali youth in Columbus with the long-term goal of developing culturally appropriate education. Method: The grounded theory approach was employed whereby semi-structured interviews were conducted with 13 male and 14 female immigrant Somali youth aged 18-25. Interviews were analyzed using a constant comparison process. Results: Five broad categories emerged: religion, culture, school, family, and protection against HIV.  Within these emerging categories, findings revealed that female participants had an incomplete knowledge of HIV and sexual health although they had received some information at school. Women expressed concerns about the adequacy of their knowledge.  Men expressed confidence in their knowledge although they were not more accurate than women. All participants discussed concerns that sex and HIV were taboo topics within the community. Many suggested that religious/community leaders and parents should be educated and engaged in open and informed discussions about sexual health and HIV to help reduce stigma.  Conclusion: Given the increase in incidence of HIV and other STIs among youth in the USA, a concerted effort is needed within the Somali youth immigrant community to enhance awareness of HIV prevention in a culturally sensitive manner. Particulary, providing HIV education training to Somail immigrant/refugee religious and community leaders and parents may be a unique avenue to minimize existing taboos and reach out to the Somali immigrant youth who lack accurate and adequate information on HIV prevention.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how and when Somali immigrant youth gained knowledge of sexual health and HIV education. Discuss culturally appropriate approaches to sexual health education targeting Somali immigrant youth.

Keyword(s): Immigrant Health, HIV Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My research primarily focuses on HIV/AIDS and mental health among people in Africa, African Americans, immigrants and refugees. I have conducted research projects in the USA, Kenya and Botswana on HIV/AIDS, sexual health and sexual violence. My recent publications are primarily on HIV/AIDS in Kenya.
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.

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