The Hill article By Lizzie PerezThe Hill – Sept. 1, 2018 9:17 p.m.
EDTBy Lizzi PerezThe Washington Post – Sept 1, 2019 9:21 p.lngress.com – ‘Black lives matter’ shirts are an ‘important step’ in women’s health efforts, according to a study released Thursday.
A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Boston University found that Black women who wear the shirts, known as the ‘Dress for Justice’ shirts, are at greater risk of contracting a deadly form of sexually transmitted disease.
The CDC found that the risk of STDs for Black women in general, and Black women specifically, is higher than the general population.
“I’ve always said, if you’re going to help people, make sure that you’re not just using the shirts as a symbol of activism,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, a Boston University epidemiologist who led the study, said in an interview Thursday.
“But the question is, are we really going to make the difference in the numbers of STIs and infections that we’re talking about?”
The CDC released a study this week that examined the use of ‘Dresses for Justice,’ a collection of shirt-style shirts designed to be worn in public and also sold at discount stores and other stores, as well as online.
It found that only 2 percent of women between ages 18 and 39 who wear a ‘Dressed for Justice shirt’ were tested for HIV, while nearly 2 percent had HIV tests.
About 10 percent of Black women between the ages of 15 and 24 who wear one of the shirts were tested, and only 3 percent of white women.
The CDC study did not measure the level of STI testing, and it found that women in the study who wore the ‘dressed for justice’ shirts were at slightly higher risk of being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than their peers who did not wear the shirt.
In a news release, the CDC said the data is not statistically significant.
“We don’t know whether wearing Dressed for Honor shirts increases the risk for sexual transmission,” said Dr. Amy Kuykendall, a CDC assistant director for STI prevention.
“But, we do know that wearing these shirts in public places, particularly at a discount store, increases your risk for HIV transmission, and these shirts help make the point that there’s more risk associated with wearing these types of clothing.”
The CDC found women in a similar study had higher rates of sexual transmission and STIs in their community, but the risk was lower in their communities of color.
The researchers also noted that women who are tested are not necessarily at higher risk for STDs.
“There’s a range of people who have higher STIs who are also at risk for developing infection,” Dr Schuchatt said.
In the CDC study, participants who wore at least one of five shirts in their collection had lower rates of HIV infection than participants who did no shirt wear.
But there was no difference in STI rates between those who wore and did not.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
More to come…