Overcoming Issues and Challenges in Serving the Sexual Health Needs of Latino Immigrants in the United States
Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic segment in the US, expected to grow 167% from 2010 to 2050, compared to 42% growth for the total U.S. population. Currently, Latinos make up 17% of the nation’s total population, with projections that this number will nearly double to 30% by 2050. While diversity exists among U.S. Latinos, there are nevertheless several factors that are quite common among Latino immigrants as a whole, including immigration experiences, language, cultural values, and religion. These same characteristics help shape their shared lived experiences in the US, including their sexual health. Providing sexual education and health services to vulnerable populations is a key component in promoting community wellness and making a significant public health impact. However, there are often several obstacles that stand between public health advocates, researchers, policymakers, service providers, and the target population they wish to impact. This paper provides a summary of the current empirical literature on sexual health among Latino immigrants; explores some of the main sexual health needs, issues, and challenges affecting this population, including HIV/STIs, sexual abuse and sex-trafficking, and barriers to access sexual and reproductive health services; and presents recommendations and approaches to cope with the myriad challenges affecting this growing minority population.