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Black Women's Learning Institute Releases Data from National Survey About Black Women's Primary Health Concerns

March 10, 2022 12:02 PM

NEW YORK (PRWEB) March 10, 2022

As the nation recognizes National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NWGHAAD), nonprofit organization Black Women's Learning Institute (BWLI) and national research organization NDRI-USA are partnering to bridge the gap between research and practice in public health.

In September 2021, BWLI launched its Engage. Empower. Educate. (EEE) survey nationally with a focus on Louisville, KY and Baton Rouge, LA. According to America's Health Rankings (2018), these two cities represent a population of Black women known to experience higher rates of many serious health issues compared to Black women in other parts of the country.

Some of the key topics included respondents' awareness of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) as an important HIV prevention tool, the effects of COVID-19 on Black women, mental health and depression concerns in addition to health care discrimination. While HIV remains a major public health issue that disproportionately affects Black women, the survey revealed the top three health concerns were high blood pressure, depression, and breast cancer. Only 4% of Black women respondents said that HIV/AIDS was a top health concern. Of the 1600 responding, 38% said they never get tested for HIV at all.

The survey, based on a sample of 1,600 women with 1,039 identifying as Black women, covers a plethora of critical issues relevant to the experience of anyone seeking quality health care. With Southern states (including Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi) representing 83% of respondents ranging in age groups from 18-60+, the survey reports that 51% of respondents feel that being Black is the most important part of their identity.

Aligning with this year's NWGHAAD theme: "Prevention and Testing at Every Age. Care and Treatment at Every Stage", the goal of BWLI's research is to improve health outcomes for Black women across the lifespan through programming that is responsive to their needs and concerns. According to the report based on the survey, "BWLI serves as a vehicle to inform the development of health programs that respect the experience and intersecting identities of Black women. Our vision is to achieve health equity for Black women free of implicit and explicit bias."

BWLI Co-Director and leading public health expert Hanna Tessema states, "We provide platforms and facilitate critical conversations about the health issues that most affect us. We listen to and protect Black women by translating research into practice. Anti-racist clinical care is at the top of our list, so clinicians provide services without implicit bias and through a lens of intersectionality recognizing that we are not a monolith. Nearly half the sample in the EEE survey (48%) reported always, usually, or sometimes experiencing discrimination from their health care providers."

Although significant progress has been made with HIV treatment in recent decades, the organization feels that it must still acknowledge and work to dismantle systems of oppression that drive health inequities for Black women in the US. The conditions and circumstances in which people are born and live, and the social determinants of health, shape Black women's health outcomes. Additionally, HIV stigma and knowledge gaps persist as drivers leading to the disproportionate burden of HIV experienced by Black women.

The EEE survey shows that almost 60% of the sample is unaware of PrEP as an HIV prevention option. When asked "Would you consider or are you currently taking PrEP?", 26% of those who responded "no" indicate that it is because they are in a monogamous relationship. Other responses range from "I don't have HIV/AIDS nor does my partner" to "Do not have a need to take the pill" and a combined 19% point to varying levels of mistrust in pharmaceutical companies, providers, and the stigma of taking an HIV prevention medication.

According to the report, "75% of the sample said they generally feel comfortable taking injectable medications. This is important to note as injectable HIV prevention medications continue to be developed." The report highlights Black women's views and experiences with COVID-19 and vaccinations, mental health, and a common concern among Black women was around finding a health care provider that they trust, and many preferred to have a Black provider but did not know how to find one.

BWLI Co-Director and expert in the field of HIV/AIDS research, Lisa Frederick, says "Black women are still disproportionately affected by HIV especially in our southern regions like Louisville and Baton Rouge yet the conversations around HIV have stopped. We must address and discuss all our risk factors including HIV if we are to achieve optimal health and wellness for Black women."


For more info on the important work of BWLI, or to find out how you can support BWLI's mission, please visit https://bwli.org/

About Black Women's Learning Institute
Black Women's Learning Institute (BWLI) is an institute at the non-profit, NDRI-USA, based in New York City. BWLI and NDRI-USA share a goal of building community and practitioner relationships to bridge the gap between research and practice in public health. Our partnership is centered around advancing evidence-based and emerging promising practices to support public health practitioners working with communities. BWLI focuses specifically on the health and social disparities that affect Black women. We help create sustainable change that improves health outcomes and advances equity for Black women through multimodal education and using technology to reach Black women in both urban and rural settings, especially in the deep South. BWLI's mission is to improve health and wellness across the lifespan among Black women.

NDRI-USA is a private, not-for-profit research and development organization. We conduct and disseminate cutting-edge research that addresses significant societal problems, informs policy, and improves public health and quality of life. Our diverse interdisciplinary professionals are available as extramural researchers and consultants for public and private entities seeking insights grounded in science. We also provide support and training services in the following areas: grants management, financial accounting and budgeting, personnel management, information retrieval and library services, and data science (including data management and analytics).

For press inquiries please contact:
Melanie Mitchell
[email protected]

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