Despite various efforts made to promote equity in healthcare for all, racial and ethnic discrimation still pervades the healthcare system, preventing marginalized groups from accessing adequate health services — including treatments for sexual health.
According to a study by Cynthia Prather, Ph.D., Taleria R. Fuller, Ph.D., Khiya J. Marshall DrPH, and William L. Jeffries, IV, Ph.D., health disparities result from the social determinants of poverty, unemployment and limited education, among other factors. Furthermore, the study concludes that among all racial and ethnic minorities, African American women are disproportionately affected by numerous sexual and reproductive health conditions compared to women of other races and ethnicities.
Idia Thurston, Ph.D., associate professor of psychological and brain sciences at Texas A&M, said racism drives health inequities. Thurston said health equity is the principle idea in which everyone should have the ability to be as healthy as possible.
“We need personalized healthcare. The way race is talked about in the United States tends to take a colorblind approach and says we’re going to give services to everyone — we’re just thinking of everyone as a group,” Thurston said. “What that does is … not allow people to get what they need when they need it. Racism really drives people’s experiences with health when their race is not considered.”