Session: Changing Sexual and Reproductive Health Narratives of Black Adolescents and Young Adults (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

All live presentations are in Eastern time zone.

236 Changing Sexual and Reproductive Health Narratives of Black Adolescents and Young Adults

Friday, January 22, 2021: 3:45 PM-4:45 PM
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Tyriesa Howell, PhD, LMSW, Washington University in Saint Louis, Yarneccia Dyson, Ph.D., MSW, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Dione King, PhD, University of Alabama, Birmingham and Marquitta Dorsey, Ph.D., Loyola University, Chicago
Sexual risk behaviors continue to adversely impact the health and well-being of Black adolescents and young adults (AYA) placing them at continued risk for persistent sexual health disparities including HIV transmission, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unintended pregnancies (Morrison-Beedy, Grove, Ji, & Baker, 2017; Tolma et al., 2008). One in four Black youth have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) (Forhan et al., 2009) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2016) continuously reports disproportionate rates of HIV infection experiences by Black people (i.e. account for 42% of new HIV diagnoses and young Black gay and bisexual men account for 51% of new HIV diagnoses). Furthermore, birth rates among young Black females remain almost twice as high as young White females despite the overall decline in teen pregnancy rates (Hamilton, Martin, Osterman, Curtin, & Mathews, 2015). Commonly cited sexual health prevention challenges for AYA include inadequate sex education and health-related behaviors such as low rates of HIV/STI testing, substance use, low rates of condom use, and number of partners (Kann et al., 2018). Additionally, socioeconomic challenges also hinder Black AYA access to care, while isolation, stigma, and sexual health misperceptions are commonly described as psychosocial and interpersonal barriers to health (see US HHS, Healthy People 2020). As a result, this roundtable session has been designed to create an active space for dialogue specific to the sexual and reproductive health behaviors of Black AYA and ways that social workers can contribute new science that advances social change and improves health outcomes for this population.

In this roundtable session, presenters will: 1) review the collective impact of social work science in describing barriers and challenges in research and practice involving the sexual and reproductive health of Black AYA, 2) explain theoretical and conceptual frameworks that center racial equity to better understand and explain the complexities associated with sexual and reproductive health challenges among Black AYA (i.e., Phenomenological Variant of Ecological Systems Theory, Intersectionality, Black Feminist Theory, Health Communication Principles, Integrated Model of Behavioral Change, Health Belief Model, and the Theory of Reasoned Action/Planned Behavior) 3) demonstrate best practices that add to the current knowledge base in social work practice and research methodology for advancing sexual health education and 4) report research activities of the presenters that highlight novel and cutting-edge approaches for integrating mHealth technology within interventions designed to support improved sexual and reproductive health outcomes for Black AYA. Implications of this roundtable session will also offer attendees an opportunity to share and receive feedback around their research challenges, theoretical frameworks, and strategies for successfully elevating marginalized voices to contribute social change that reduces sexual and reproductive health disparities, particularly for Black AYA. Furthermore, the goal of this roundtable session is to facilitate critical reflections that will inform social work research and practice for the purpose of ensuring equitable and inclusive practices for this population to better achieve social change.

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