A Comparison of Sexual Practices of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Female College Students

Wednesday, 14 July 2010: 11:00 AM

Katherine Chadwell, MSN, ARNP-BC, CCRN, CPHQ
Sande Gracia Jones, PhD, ARNP, ACRN, CS, FAAN
Carol A. Patsdaughter, PhD, RN, ACRN, CNE
Vanessa Doorasamy, MA
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the role that culture plays in the sexual practices of Hispanic and non-Hispanic female college students.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to identify unsafe sexual practices in multicultural female college students that can lead to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections.

Purpose: The incidence of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remains high, with marked racial disparities reported. Hispanic women are four times more likely to develop HIV infection than White women. Cultural differences reported may be different in female college students whose educational and socioeconomic status is similar. The purpose of this study is to explore differences in sexual practices of Hispanic and non-Hispanic female college students. 
Methods: This is a secondary analysis of the SENORITAS (acronym for Student Education Needed in Order to Reduce Infection and Transmission of AIDS/HIV and STIs) study of female students at a large urban university (Jones, et al., 2008). Variables examined included age, place of birth, ethnic background, religion, marital status, year in college, ever had sex, sex in past two months, number of sexual partners in past two months, sexual preference, presently in a relationship, ever had STD, ever been pregnant, age at first sex, and condom use. Subjects (n = 456) were extracted from the data set and categorized into Hispanic (n = 188) and non-Hispanic (n = 268).  Data were analyzed using chi-square and independent t-tests.
Results: There were no significant differences in sexual practices between Hispanics and non-Hispanic female college students. Both groups demonstrated unsafe sexual practices in terms of number of partners and condom use, with an average of 10% already reporting an STI.   Approximately 80% of students reported having had sex, with about 70% of women having had sex before 18 years of age.

Conclusion: Examination of sexual practices can lead to further insight and implementation of strategies that may reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and STIs. In a multicultural university setting, sexual practices may be more homogenous than the general population, suggesting that all female college students should receive education and support for safer sexual practices.