Online Program

Sexual behaviors among Haitian youth in Greater Boston: Do they differ from other youth of African descent?

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:42 p.m. - 12:54 p.m.

Nicole Prudent, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Mathilda Ruwe, DrPH, Youth and Family Enrichment Services, Boston, MA
Marie Foureau-Dorsinville, MD, Haitian Health Institute, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Joel Piton, MD, Haitian Health Institute, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Dominique Dupont-Dubois, MPH, Haitian Health Institute, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
Christy Benjamin, MS, Wellmet Project Inc., Cambridge, MA
Lois McCloskey, DrPH, Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Michael Gelder, MHA, Michael Gelder and Associates, evanston, IL
People of African descent have distinct cultural, linguistic, and social histories that are often subsumed in their shared racial classification in the reporting of health data. In an effort to understand the sexual knowledge and practices of youth of Haitian descent as they might compare to other youth of African descent, we gathered baseline data as part of a randomized controlled trial of a sexual health curriculum for Haitian youth.  We surveyed 637 youth aged 13-19 in 9 high schools and 2 community-based organizations in the greater Boston area, and compared our findings to data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) for U.S. “Black/African-American” youth.                                                                                  


female (%)


male (%)








Have you ever had sexual intercourse?







Did you have intercourse before age 13yr?







Have you had intercourse with >4 persons?







Did you not use a condom during last intercourse (sexually active only)







Our data suggest that youth of Haitian descent may differ in important ways from the cohort of all Black youth.  Such differences must be better understood and taken into account in the design of effective interventions to promote sexual health in culturally distinct subpopulations.  Possible explanations for these differences, including specific aspects of Haitian family dynamics with regard to adolescent development, will be discussed as well as their implications for the delivery of effective inteventions.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the differences in sexual behaviors between youth of Haitian descent and those of the broader African-American population

Keyword(s): Adolescents, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over thirty years experience with the population studied as a clincian and public health practitioner. I am the Principal Investigator for this project and have been involved in every stage of planning, execution, and analysis.
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.