Women’s Health

Safe Sex for Black Queens: Taking Control of Your Health

Written by Jessie Kimani

Safety is an important aspect of life that affects the health and well-being of everyone. Unfortunately, sex safety is one of the most overlooked issues among Black women. Even with all the efforts to promote sexual health in the community, Black women still face disproportionate risks associated with sexual health. In this article, we explore the issue of Black women and safe sex, including low-cost solutions that are readily available.

Sexual Health Risks Disparity in Black Women

Black women experience a significant burden of STIs compared to other races. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Black women in the United States account for about 42% of new HIV diagnoses among women, despite representing only 15% of the total female population. In addition, Black women are the highest portion of the female population who do not know their HIV/AIDS status. The rates of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis are also higher in Black women.

The sexual health risk disparities in Black women are rooted in social determinants of health and social and economic factors. For instance, Black communities often face limited access to quality healthcare and access to sex education. Compounded with higher poverty rates, women in these communities are more vulnerable to STIs and HIV.

The main risk factor for sexual health is unprotected sex. Not only does it expose the individual to potentially life-threatening illnesses, but it is also associated with unintended pregnancy and health complications. Therefore, practicing safe sex is important in achieving optimal health and well-being.

Safe Sex Options for Black Women

The most effective method for preventing HIV and STI transmission during sex is the correct and consistent use of condoms. This is also an affordable option, with multiple low-cost condom options available in every community. You can easily get subsidized condoms from health clinics and government programs. You may also access them through Planned Parenthood locations, which also offer specialized advice to the public. Another effective option is to purchase condoms in bulk, which can significantly reduce the cost per use.

With the focus being on Black women’s health, women need to take an active role in ensuring their well-being. Although slightly more expensive, female condoms are an effective option for women who want more control. You can find these at some clinics and it can also help to search for condom brands with affordable options. Another important physical barrier is the use of dental dams for oral sex to prevent the spread of STIs.

The risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases differs among different groups of individuals. Make sure you know your partner’s status and get tested yourself. Those with a partner who has HIV or has a higher risky sexual behavior may consider the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (Prep). These are medications that are taken daily to reduce the risk of HIV infection for individuals at high risk. However, you should always consult your doctor or a healthcare provider to make sure Prep is right for you and get guidance on proper use.

In addition to this physical barrier, the real protection is through communication. Partners should be able to communicate and negotiate safe sex. It would be beneficial to have open and honest conversations with your partner about sexual history and the preferred methods of protection. In some cases, you may need to explore boundaries that will help create a foundation for safe and enjoyable sexual experiences. Make sure to also educate yourself as much as possible about sexual health and how to take care of your body.

Safe Sex as a Black Women Empowerment Tool

Safe sex is not just a matter of duty to yourself and your partner, but it can also be a source of empowerment. By taking control of your sexual health decisions, you foster self-respect and demonstrate self-worth. This is an integral part of any Black woman as it allows you to set boundaries within your sexual relationship and be confident in your decisions. This also translates to empowerment in other areas of your life, making you a more confident individual.

One of the fundamental aspects of sexual health is bodily autonomy or the right to make choices about your own body. With safe sex practices, Black women can reclaim control over their bodies. You will be making informed decisions about your sexual health and prevent situations that would normally lead to unwanted sexual experiences.

Resources for Black Women to Practice Safe Sex

Finding support and the right information about safe sex can transform your life. You will understand the right thing to do, be empowered, and find out where to find important products. Some of the resources you will find useful include:

  • Planned Parenthood: A publicly accessible website that offers information on sexual health, safe sex practices, birth control options, SIT testing, and more.
  • Black Women’s Health Imperative: An initiative that helps solve the most pressing health issues that Black women and girls face.
  • Black Women for Wellness: A source of wealth of information about Black women’s sexual health, with supportive information and events.
  • Sister Love: A women-centered HIV and sexual reproductive justice advocacy organization.
  • Local Health Departments: Get information in person about fee or low-cost STI testing and condoms

Safe sex practices are a necessity for every Black woman’s health and well-being. Although social and community factors can affect the ability to practice safe sex, there are several affordable ways to do this. Making sure you use condoms correctly and consistently will help in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and other complications such as unintended pregnancy. However, it is important to have open and honest communication with your partner to prioritize safe sex in your life.

Additional Reading

African American Women and Contraceptive Options: Our Choices. https://www.blackwomenshealthproject.org/aacontraception.htm

Fast Facts: HIV and Women. https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/data-research/facts-stats/women.html

Reframing Sexual Health for Black Girls and Women in HIV/STI Prevention Work: Highlighting the Role of Identity and Interpersonal Relationships. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8621381/

Promoting Optimal Sexual and Reproductive Health with Mobile Health Tools for Black Women: Combining Technology, Culture and Context. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8536956/

Safe sex practices among African American women. https://www.psypost.org/safe-sex-practices-among-african-american-women/#google_vignette

Ensuring Contraception Options Are Accessible and Affordable. https://www.americanprogress.org/article/playbook-for-the-advancement-of-women-in-the-economy/ensuring-contraception-options-are-accessible-and-affordable/

About the author

Jessie Kimani

Jess is a dedicated natural hair enthusiast, stylist, and writer. From tips on how to style your curls to product recommendations, she is your go-to source for all things natural hair care. She is passionate about helping women embrace their natural beauty; a firm believer that every woman should feel confident and beautiful in their natural hair.

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