College Students; Sexual Behavior; Sexually Transmitted Infections; Contraception; Health Status Disparities; Hispanics


Public Health


Hispanic students are the fastest growing minority population on U.S. college campuses. The purpose of this study was to examine differences in the sexual and reproductive health behaviors and outcomes between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White college students. Analyses utilized data from 15,518 non-married undergraduates (aged 18-24 years) responding to the Fall 2009 American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II, a national sample of U.S. college students. Binary logistic regression analyses were used to examine disparities in sexual and reproductive health behaviors and outcomes, including sexual behavior, contraceptive and condom use, HIV testing, and STD and unintended pregnancy history, between Hispanic and non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanics had greater odds of reporting a past-year STD, although rates of reported sexual risk behaviors were no higher among Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic Whites. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, fewer Hispanics reported using birth control pills. Hispanics were 2.5 times less likely to report using any method to prevent pregnancy, which may explain why Hispanics were more likely to report emergency contraceptive use in the past 12 months and a past-year unintended pregnancy. Important sexual health disparities exist among U.S. students, which have important practical implications for college health policy, practice, and intervention. Further research is warranted to understand the ethnic differences in the use of both hormonal and emergency contraceptives, particularly among college students.

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