HIV; STIs; young adults; disparities; prevention; HBCUs


Diseases | Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Social and Behavioral Sciences



Every year, thousands of young, black, high school graduates who are seeking higher education, attend one of the 105 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) located primarily in the south and east. The objective of the research was to examine the geographic proximity of HBCUs to areas of high HIV and STI disease burden among college age people to assess infectivity of potential sex partners in the areas surrounding HBCUs.


We examined the 14 states reporting the greatest HIV diagnoses burden among persons age 20-24 years old and STI burden among persons age 15 to 24 years old available for 2010. The Geographic Information System was used to create a spatially referenced data base of state level HIV and STI disease rates and HBCU zip codes to answer the question “How many HBCUs are in this location?” Maps were created to show HBCU locations in states along with the associated HIV and STI disease burden.


Results suggest high HIV and STI disease burden in the general population of persons ages 15-24 in 10 states with 4 or more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and an overall high rate of HIV and STI exposure in the pool of potential sex partners. Less risky behavior by minority young adults attending HBCUs could potentially translate to high risk for contracting the diseases because of high prevalence in surrounding communities.

Public Health Message

Public health agencies may want to consider prioritizing HBCUs for enhanced HIV and STI prevention collaborative efforts in those areas with a high burden of HIV and other STIs.