Reducing STD Rates Among Black Young People May Hinge On Improved Communication Between Teens And Adults

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A new report conducted by researchers at the University of Oregon suggests that the key to reducing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among low-income, African-American young people living in urban communities may simply be an issue of achieving better communication between teens and adults.

The study, recently published by the scientific journal Research in Human Development, was compiled using interviews from African American teens, ages 15-17, in San Francisco and Chicago. 

While the study indicated that sexual education programs were almost “universal,” researchers note that most teens had received very little “accurate” sexual health information from a majority of their information sources on sex and sexually transmitted diseases. 

According to researchers, the population made better sexual health choices when they had access to varied sources about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases and infections. The study suggests that more collaboration between social institutions -- like churches, schools and healthcare providers -- could help decrease the high rates of African Americans living with STDs, which in some instances, is 19 times higher than that of Caucasians. 

Researchers said that abstinence education could be improved if a greater emphasis was placed on the impact of “emotional interaction” as an alternative to sexual activities. Additionally, the study suggests sexual education programs would prove more effective for the demographic if sex was discussed as a healthy aspect of life, when age-appropriate and under proper circumstances.