African Americans and Hispanics Urged To Take Advantage of Preventive Screenings
April is National Minority Health Month and April 15-21 is National Minority Cancer Awareness Week. Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood (UHPP) is using this opportunity to advance the health of people of color in the Capital Region with a reminder to get Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and cancer screenings.
When it comes to reproductive health, minorities face a distinct challenge. African America women with cervical cancer are twice as likely to lose their lives to this disease as are white women. African Americans, while representing 14 percent of the U.S. population, account for 69 percent of gonorrhea cases and about half of all cases of Chlamydia, HIV/AIDS, and syphilis. Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women are most likely to die from the disease.
Latinos experience higher rates of reproductive cancers, unintended pregnancy, and STDs than most other groups of people in the U.S. Latinos are more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than women of any other racial or ethnic group-one-and-a-half times as likely as non- Latina white women. Latinas also have the third highest death rates from cervical cancer. The rates of gonorrhea for Latinos is double that of non-Latino whites, and Chlamydia rates among Latinos is nearly three times higher than it is for non-Latino whites.
Early detection saves lives. When a woman makes cancer screenings a part of her check-up, she increases the chances that precancerous or abnormal cells will be detected early. Yet because people of color are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured, they are forced to delay care and are diagnosed later than others with the same health problems, ultimately resulting in higher death rates.
UHPP welcomes and serves a patient population reflective of the diversity in our region. In 2011, of all patients receiving preventive health services at UHPP, 26.7% identified themselves as African American and 8% as Hispanic. The agency provides affordable, lifesaving cancer screenings; GYN exams; testing and treatment for STDs, including HIV tests; and birth control.
Access to affordable health care is an issue that many families face. UHPP is dedicated to ensuring that men and women have access to quality affordable reproductive health screening and services. UHPP accepts most major insurances and staff are available to help eligible clients enroll in available assistance programs like the Family Benefit program and Medicaid that cover reproductive health services. For those without coverage, services are available on a sliding fee scale.