The State of the Union: Sexual Health Disparities in a National Sample of US College Students Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To examine sexual health disparities between blacks and whites in a national sample of US college students. PARTICIPANTS AND METHOD SUMMARY: Analyses utilized secondary data from 44,165 nonmarried undergraduates (aged 18-24; M = 20.1) responding to the Spring 2007 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment; 64% were female and 94.7% were white. RESULTS: Whites reported more experience in oral and anal sex, were less likely to use condoms for oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and less likely to have been tested for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) compared with blacks. However, blacks reported more sex partners, lower use of hormonal contraceptives, and higher rates of adverse sexual health outcomes, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unintended pregnancy. Sexual behaviors and outcomes also varied across gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights a need to increase access to hormonal contraceptives and early STI screening/treatment among blacks, improve HIV testing among whites, and increase condom use promotion for all students.

publication date

  • January 29, 2010