Background: Evidence of differences in rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among ethnoracial minorities is indicated in public health surveillance data from North America. One of the most promising developments in health policy has been the global “health equity” movement concerned with addressing social determinants of health to reduce disparities in disease and illness. In order to address health disparities in STIs, those working in public health must first understand key barriers to access to health services and the specific needs of underserved populations. This presentation explores the application of “inclusive practice” and “intersectionality” to health equity and their potential contribution to the prevention of STIs among ethnoracial minorities. Practice points are offered that translate these concepts into concrete action to reduce vulnerability to and resilience against STIs among ethnoracial minorities.
Methods: This presentation draws on findings from a systematic review of the literature and evaluated programmatic responses related to key determinants of STBBI vulnerability among ethnoracial minorities.
Results: Racism and discrimination, socioeconomic status, gender, substance use, mental health, housing, and access to health services are key determinants of vulnerability to STIs among ethnoracial minorities. Reflective of “inclusive practice” and “intersectionality” approaches, the findings suggest that: a) facilitating points of connection between members of the ethnoracial community and practitioners; b) incorporating culturally-based approaches to health and healing; c) acknowledging the social, cultural, historical and political contexts of people’s lives; d) inter-sectoral collaboration; e) establishing multiple points of service access; and f) fostering inclusion of ethnoracial communities in program development and delivery, have the potential to increase health equity and prevent STIs among ethnoracial minorities.
Conclusions: The concepts of “inclusive practice” and “intersectionality” have the potential to help practitioners frame interventions and initiatives to address barriers to equitable access to health services and to better serve the needs of underserved populations.