NR 602: Reflection on Sexually Transmitted Infections in Clients of Marginalized Communities

NR 602: Reflection on Sexually Transmitted Infections in Clients of Marginalized Communities

Sexually transmitted infections represent a significant public health challenge globally, affecting individuals of all backgrounds and demographics. However, it is increasingly evident that certain populations, particularly those belonging to marginalized communities, bear a disproportionate burden of STIs. This raises critical questions about the underlying factors driving these disparities and the urgent need for targeted interventions and equitable healthcare access.

Understanding the prevalence of STIs among marginalized communities is important for several reasons. First, it speaks to broader issues of health inequity and social justice, showing disparities in access to healthcare, education, and resources. Secondly, addressing STI disparities is essential for effective disease prevention and control efforts, as these communities often serve as reservoirs for transmission to the general population. Moreover, failure to address the root causes of STI disparities perpetuates cycles of poor health outcomes and socioeconomic disadvantage. The prevalence of STIs in marginalized communities is influenced by socioeconomic factors, stigma and discrimination, cultural and structural barriers, and intersectional factors.

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  1. Socioeconomic Factors

Socioeconomic status plays a pivotal role in shaping individuals’ access to healthcare, education, and resources for the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections. Individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds often face barriers to accessing quality healthcare services. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention individuals with low income are less likely to receive regular STI screenings and preventive care compared to those with higher income levels (CDC, 2023). Limited access to healthcare facilities, lack of health insurance, and transportation challenges further exacerbate disparities in STI detection and treatment among economically disadvantaged populations. The financial constraints associated with poverty can make individuals engage in risky sexual behaviors as a means of coping with economic stressors (Ma et al., 2023).

  1. Stigma and Discrimination

The stigma associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) perpetuates social inequalities and exacerbates health disparities, particularly among marginalized communities. This stigma manifests in various forms, including negative stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, and has far-reaching consequences for individuals’ access to healthcare and well-being. Marginalized communities often experience heightened levels of stigma related to STIs due to intersecting factors such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and immigration status.

Discrimination based on race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status can create significant barriers to seeking healthcare and disclosing STI status. Fear of judgment, rejection, or mistreatment by healthcare providers prevents individuals from marginalized communities from accessing essential STI services (Garcia et al., 2021). Moreover, structural inequalities in the healthcare system, such as language barriers and lack of culturally competent care, can exacerbate disparities in STI care for marginalized populations.

Cultural and Structural Barriers

Cultural norms and societal structures significantly influence the prevalence of STIs among marginalized groups, shaping individuals’ attitudes, behaviors, and access to sexual health resources. These cultural and structural barriers contribute to disparities in STI rates and perpetuate health inequities among underserved populations. Limited sex education represents a significant cultural barrier to STI prevention and care, particularly in communities where discussions about sexual health are taboo or stigmatized. In many societies, sex education is either absent from school curricula or provided in a limited and often inadequate manner.  Language barriers further exacerbate disparities in STI care, particularly among immigrant and non-native English-speaking populations. Limited proficiency in the dominant language of a healthcare system can hinder individuals’ ability to communicate with healthcare providers, understand medical information, and access appropriate services.

Systemic inequalities, such as inadequate healthcare infrastructure in underserved areas, further compound the challenges faced by marginalized communities in accessing STI services. In many low-income and rural communities, healthcare facilities may be scarce or under-resourced, limiting individuals’ access to STI testing, treatment, and prevention services. Moreover, lack of affordable healthcare coverage and transportation barriers can further deter individuals from seeking essential sexual health services, perpetuating disparities in STI rates.

Culturally tailored sex education programs, language-specific outreach initiatives, and community-based healthcare services can help overcome barriers to STI care and promote equitable access to sexual health resources.

Promoting STI Self-Care Management for Marginalized Clients through A Person-Centered Approach

In addressing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among marginalized clients, it is imperative to adopt person-centered actions that prioritize individual needs, experiences, and preferences. By centering the client’s perspective and empowering them to take an active role in their care, person-centered approaches can enhance self-care management and promote positive health outcomes. Two person-centered actions to promote STI self-care management for marginalized clients are:

  1. Culturally Tailored Education and Support: Marginalized communities often face unique cultural barriers and stigmas surrounding sexual health, which can hinder their ability to engage in effective self-care management. To address these challenges, healthcare providers can implement culturally tailored education and support initiatives that resonate with the lived experiences and cultural backgrounds of marginalized clients (Singer et al., 2021). This may involve providing information in multiple languages, incorporating cultural symbols and references into educational materials, and engaging community leaders and trusted figures to deliver health messages.
  2. Strengths-Based Counseling and Empowerment: In addition to providing information and resources, person-centered approaches to STI self-care management should focus on building clients’ strengths and fostering a sense of empowerment and agency. Strengths-based counseling techniques, such as motivational interviewing and goal setting, can help marginalized clients identify their strengths, values, and personal goals related to sexual health and self-care (Yuen et al., 2020). By affirming clients’ autonomy and resilience, healthcare providers can empower individuals to take ownership of their health and make positive changes in their behaviors and attitudes.


CDC. (2023). STD health equity. Accessed 19th February 2023 from

Garcia, P. J., Miranda, A. E., Gupta, S., Garland, S. M., Escobar, M. E., & Fortenberry, J. D. (2021). The role of sexually transmitted infections (STI) prevention and control programs in reducing gender, sexual and STI-related stigma. EClinicalMedicine33(100764), 100764.

Ma, W., Chen, Z., & Niu, S. (2023). Advances and challenges in sexually transmitted infections prevention among men who have sex with men in Asia. Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases36(1), 26–34.

Singer, R. B., Johnson, A. K., Crooks, N., Bruce, D., Wesp, L., Karczmar, A., Mkandawire-Valhmu, L., & Sherman, S. (2021). “Feeling Safe, Feeling Seen, Feeling Free”: Combating stigma and creating culturally safe care for sex workers in Chicago. PloS One16(6), e0253749.

Yuen, E., Sadhu, J., Pfeffer, C., Sarvet, B., Daily, R. S., Dowben, J., Jackson, K., Schowalter, J., Shapiro, T., & Stubbe, D. (2020). Accentuate the positive: Strengths-based therapy for adolescents. Adolescent Psychiatry10(3), 166–171.



  1. Address the following questions:
    1. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are more prevalent in clients who are members of marginalized communities.
    2. Identify and discuss two person-centered actions to promote STI self-care management for marginalized clients.
  2. Provide evidence from a scholarly resource. Cite your source(s) appropriately. Include the following components:
    1. write 150-300 words in a Microsoft Word document
    2. demonstrate clinical judgment appropriate to the virtual patient scenario
    3. cite at least two relevant scholarly source as defined by of less than 5 yrs.,  communicate with minimal errors in English grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation


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