Barriers to engagement with testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections within a UK-based Young Adult Black Caribbean community: A qualitative study


Background. The Black Caribbean population have a disproportionately high burden of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared with other ethnic groups. The aim of this study was to explore barriers to engagement with STI testing within a UK-based young adult Black Caribbean community. Methods. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 14 young adults from the Black Caribbean community and six sexual healthcare professionals. Data were analysed thematically. A focus group of five young adults was conducted to refine themes. Results. Data analysis generated three themes: (1) culturally embedded stigma; (2) historically embedded mistrust; and (3) lack of knowledge. Perceived as ‘dirty’, particularly for females, infection with STIs was stigmatised by religious conceptions of ‘purity’ and shame. This presented challenges in terms of cultural acceptability of talking about STI testing with partners, friends, and family. Legacies of colonialism, medical racism and malpractice compromised young people’s trust in medical intervention and confidentiality of data management. A lack of knowledge related to STIs and their treatment, and in how to access and perform STI tests further served as a barrier. Culturally tailored interventions targeting these factors and delivered by radio, podcasts and social media were highlighted as having potential to improve engagement with STI testing. Discussion. Engagement with STI testing by young adults from the Black Caribbean community is impacted by historically and culturally embedded teachings, practices and beliefs inherited through generations. Targeting these factors within culturally tailored interventions may be effective for increasing STI-testing, and thus reducing rates of STI-infection in this population.

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Divisions: College of Health & Life Sciences > School of Psychology
Funding Information: This study was funded by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.
Additional Information: Copyright © 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO PublishingThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published in Sexual Health. The published version is available at:
Uncontrolled Keywords: STI testing,black and ethnic minority,interview,public health,qualitative,sexual health,sexually transmitted infections,young adults,Medicine(all)
Publication ISSN: 1449-8987
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2024 07:34
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2024 16:43
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http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2024-03-04
Published Online Date: 2024-03-04
Accepted Date: 2024-02-16
Submitted Date: 2023-09-16
Authors: Heath, Gemma (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1569-5576)
Kaur, Kiranpal
Farrow, Claire (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3745-6610)
Ross, Jonathan
Clarke, Rebecca



Version: Accepted Version

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