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Birth Control on Hispanic Community, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1129

Essay

Introduction

The majority of Hispanics in the US are mainly of Catholic faith.  The religious faith has implications for their response to aspects of birth control in the female community.  In general terms birth control methods other than that of rhythm are considered to be unacceptable.  There is also a huge reliance on the family support system and this often at the expense of seeking out medical support.  This paper argues that cultural influences within the Hispanic community prevent a modern and more progressive outlook on birth control procedures. (Transcultural Nursing).

Social Implications

There is a large reliance upon the family unit and family elders to look after those who become sick and this is influenced by Catholicism.  The Church frown upon the use of contraceptives and as such this increases the number of children in poor families.  Birth control methods like the use of Condoms are also an important means of containing the spread of HIV/AIDS. The HIV infection among young women in the USA is increasing.  This raises an important question as to whether young women of childbearing age should be tested for HIV. The issue relates to the fact many young women are unaware of their HIV status and as such testing may avoid perinatal transmission of HIV.  This situation is currently not mandated in the USA and as such, in most states, it remains a voluntary activity between doctor and patient.  The objective of early screening being to prevent AIDS transmission to the Children. (Duggan)

Figures in 2009 indicated that there were over 33 million people living with and infected with HIV/AIDS. In the USA African American and Hispanic women seem to run the greatest risk accounting for some 80% of the infection in young women.  In 2009 the estimated figure of young women living with AIDS is estimated at 390,000 in North America. (Avert)

Since 1985 where the testing for HIV has been conducted largely on a voluntary basis, the overall situation has improved particularly in Mexico and the USA.  The ethical implications however continue to give rise to fervent debates as to what is largely right and wrong. One of the great advances in 1984 was the discovery of the virus that causes the AIDS infection. Since this time considerable progress has been made with the treatment of varying drugs, nevertheless the disease remains a killer, particularly in the developing world.

Cultural Influences

The tight knit extended Hispanic families have encouraged the young women to have children very earl. The concept of having early children and frequent children has promoted a surge of babies in the Hispanic communities.  Typical of this is the Hispanic community in Fresno California  which has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the USA.  This has created a large number of poor single mothers who struggle raising children and will not offer them up for adoption.

Research has indicated that many of the fathers of these young impregnated women are family relatives like Uncles.  Equally boy friends of the girl’s mother.  It has been held that many elder men have become more predatory towards younger women as they believe that there is less chance of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.  Within the poorer Hispanic communities in California there are increased incident of forced sex and rape within the wider family communities.  Figure 1 as illustrated above shows the increase in Teen pregnancy rates in the US Hispanic community between 1990-2003.  (Ryan).

Influencing the Latino Community

It is estimated that the Latino community are the fastest growing population in the USA, with an estimated growth rate of around 41% per annum.   The boost in teen pregnancy being the main causative factor.  Because of the strong catholic religious influence the discussion or debate on birth control has been largely bi-passed.  Historically the problem has been more associated with the parents who have poor education and have not been receptive to more modern thought process.  The younger generation are being better educated and seeking more proactive advice. Many wish to escape the poverty trap of the previous generations and they understand the dangers of teen pregnancies.  In addition the rapid increase in transmission of HIV/AIDS in the Hispanic community has focused minds on disease prevention measures.

Religious practices have also forbidden the use of birth control pills and this has seen the Hispanic community less willing to use this form of contraception.  Research studies have indicated that many of the young Hispanic women have been ill informed on the benefits of birth control pills.  Many of the community had been more informed of the dangers of the drug and the dangerous side effects with indications that prolonged use could make them permanently sterile.  This lack of quality sex education has been attributed to a degree of racism towards the Hispanic community and this has led to a degree of mistrust with the medical communities. This has historically been a problem in Florida where many poor Hispanics migrated from Cuba.

What research has adequately demonstrated is that Hispanic teen pregnancy is not purely attributed to poverty and low income groups or indeed the inability to afford adequate health coverage.  The main influencing factors are of a cultural nature influenced by family, religion and lack of education.  The chart to the right illustrates the shifting trend in Hispanic teens that are moving towards some form of contraceptive use. These statistics compiled in 2004 by Child Trends Research. (Ryan).

It is clear that increased Education in the young Hispanic community is starting to have some beneficial impact against the poverty trap of teen pregnancies.  The young girls are now starting to take more control over the situation and their lives; however it may take a few more generations in order to make required improvements.

Conclusions

There still remain fairly strong moral values amongst the young Hispanics and religious influences still hold value in terms of giving birth outside of marriage.  In order to make improvements there needs to be more targeted Education programs geared towards the young Hispanic community.  There is a need to change attitudes towards teen pregnancy and make this a less desirable state as it inhibits education, career and personal development of the girl. The importance of sexually transmitted disease needs to be elevated in educational terms; particularly the consequences of HIV/AIDS and unprotected sex.  There is also a need to support teens from having too many children at a young age and as such provide more child care assistance and prenatal care.

Works Cited

Avert. Women HIV and Aids. 2011. http://www.avert.org/women-hiv-aids.htm. 20 3 2012.

Duggan, J.K. “). Survey of Physician attitudes towards HIV testing in Pregnant women in Ohio.” Aids Patient Care Vol 17(3) (2003): 121-127.

Ryan, S Franzetta, K and Manlove, J. Hispanic teen pregnancy and birth rates: Looking behind the numbers. Research Report. Washington DC: Child Trends, 2005.

Transcultural Nursing. The Hispanic American Community. 2012. http://www.culturediversity.org/hisp.htm. 20 3 2012.

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