Digital resources could help narrow sexual health equity gap for Puerto Rican adolescents

Persistent and significant health disparities related to sexual health, including a higher teen birth rate and HIV prevalence, exist among Puerto Rican adolescents compared to other racial and ethnic adolescents. The Internet is a major platform for the dissemination of health information and has the potential to decrease health disparities. Yet, little is known about the barriers that exist related to how Latinos use web-based health information.

Antonia M. Villarruel, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn.

“Culturally and linguistically appropriate websites, programs and materials that consider and test how Latinos access, use, and engage with resources have the potential to positively influence health outcomes,” says lead-author  Antonia Villarruel, a professor and the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at Penn Nursing. “We wanted to learn about how parents would use web-based health information if given unrestricted access to that information through the Cuídalos program.”

The study, Use of Web-Based Parent–Adolescent Health Promotion Program among Puerto Ricans, showed that parents with a high school education or less were more likely to access the online program than parents with a college education.

“This is an important finding in the context of Puerto Rico,” says Villarruel. “Sexual education in public schools is limited and many parents and schools express traditional views of sexuality and social mores.”

Read more at Penn Nursing News.