Below is the main navigation for the website

Main Navigation


Sign Up for MyHIN News and Take Action


by Enid Montague

February 12, 2013

Let’s Talk About Sex Because Sexual Health is Important

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago found that only 60% of OBGYN’s ask questions about their patient’s sexual activities sex during medical visits. They also found that many OBGYN’s knew very little about their patients’ sexual behavior, sexual satisfaction and even sexual orientation.

Why are women not discussing their sexual lives with their physicians? According to the researchers, the reasons may be that 1) physicians do not ask and 2) patients do not bring their sexual activities up as points of concern.

Discussing sexual health with your physician is important, because changes in sexual functioning or behaviors can help the doctor identify other health problems that could escalate if left diagnosed and untreated.  For example. HIV/ AIDS tests are also not always routinely given to all women and when a doctor knows about your sexual health, they may know when to recommend you take one. This is particularly important as rates of HIV infection among African American and Hispanics women are much higher than those found in white women. Sixty-four percent of women with HIV are Black. And HIV infection is among the top 10 leading causes of death for Black females.

Some tips to help you have discussions about your sex life with your doctor are.

  1. Find a doctor you can trust. Many women settle for the provider that is given to them by their insurance company, but finding a good doctor is sometimes like dating. You must think of what characteristics and work practices you need in a provider that will compliment your needs. If you cannot trust you doctor, you might not feel comfortable discussing everything with your doctor and you may be putting your health at risk. If one relationship is not working, find a new one. 
  2. Do not limit your discussions of sexual behavior to your OBGYN, you might find that you are more comfortable talking about your sex life with your primary care doctor. You might also feel more comfortable discussing some concerns with a therapist or psychological professional. For example, concerns such as coping with sexual abuse, suspecting that your long-term partner is unfaithful, becoming dissatisfied with sex or having multiple simultaneous sexual partners can all affect your health. For each of the above concerns, your health care provider or team can provide support and recommend appropriate treatments.
  3.  Keep track of your sexual behavior, functioning and questions. Bringing a record of concerns related to your sexual health to your physician can help start the conversation and may help your diagnosis better treat you. Remember, it is OK to ask that certain types of information remain conversational and not become parts of the medical record. 
  4. Seek care and stay up to date with routine care activities. If you have a long-term relationship with the same care provider, it will be easier to discuss your sex life and it will be easier for that provider to identify changes in your sexual behavior and find solutions to help you.



 Sobecki JN, Curlin FA, Rasinski KA, Lindau ST. What We Don't Talk about When We Don't Talk about Sex1: Results of a National Survey of U.S. Obstetrician/Gynecologists. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2012;9(5):1285-94.
 Dr. Heather Watts, a liaison member to ACOG's Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women
 Most women are infected with HIV through heterosexual sex. Some women become infected because they may be unaware of a male partner’s risk factors for HIV infection or have a lack of HIV knowledge and lower perception of risk. Relationship dynamics also play a role. For example, some women may not insist on condom use because they fear that their partner will physically abuse or leave them. (source:



by Dominique Scott

February 11, 2013

Philadelphia High Schools Promote Safer Sex

“What has the world come to?” is often a question that floats through my mind as I read the news. Being an African American woman in a predominately Caucasian class is unsettling when the teacher reveals a chart of health statistics and African Americans are highest at risk for practically every sexually transmitted disease. Black women were second in comparison to black men in terms of early death rate; however, African American women are the highest ethnic/ gender group overall to contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Why is this so? One reason that comes to my mind is that females are more likely to go get tested than males. Furthermore, why is the percentage rate of these diseases high in the black community particularly?

Unfortunately, most STDs are contracted and spread by our young people (teenagers & young adults). In my hometown, Philadelphia, STDs are spreading rapidly, especially in the public school system. The mayor, Michael Nutter, noticed the dangerous trend amongst these students and came to a controversial conclusion to disseminate condoms at public schools without parental consent. The majority of public high schools have condom dispensers located in a nurse facility to supply all students with free condom protection. When I was in high school, condoms then were available to students, but we had to have parental consent. This new policy may help solve the problem of the spread of STDs, but created another. Parents are now questioning why their children’s school is “giving them the right to engage in sexual activities”. For more information on this new policy, see

I perfectly understand both sides of the argument. However, I believe that students will choose to have sex regardless of whether or not condoms are free or not (personal decisions). The school system is just educating kids to have safer sex if they are going to have sex at all. The choice to abstain from sexual activity is still available. However, sexually active teens and young adults in the Philadelphia area can to find where to go to get free condoms.

Share your thoughts with us.  Let us hear from you via a blog comment or on Twitter @myhealthimpact.  


by Dr. Winchester III

February 05, 2013

A Rallying Call for Scholar Activism; going deep & wide.

“Sound your voices”, well alrighty then, “Sista” Dr. Fay :>) On this snowy Friday morning in Blacksburg, Virginia, I truly needed to hear that call to action found in your January 24, 2013 myHIN blog entry.

I concur; OUR voices, specifically OUR scholarly voices, are needed if we are to make continued headway in addressing the health challenges facing OUR communities of color.  As reflected in the HIV crises in the black community, the often-incongruous nature and overall complexity of these challenges is daunting.  The latest CDC Fact Sheet on HIV infections [1], for example, states that while from 2008 to 2010, black women experienced a 21 percent decrease in new HIV infections, the rates among black men you have sex with men (MSM) have dramatically increased. I would offer that understanding the whys and discerning appropriate strategies, tactics and solutions to understand and address this and like multifaceted dilemmas will require a greater breadth and depth in scholarly engagement. 

This is not easy and these types of engagements are not going to happen by themselves.  It will require US actively engaging OUR talents, as scholars (see Jeremy Currence’s October 30, 2012 and Khalia Braswell’s October 22, 2012 myHIN’s blog posts), and OUR voices, as activist (see Khalia Braswell’s December 10, 2012 myHIN’s blog post), in driving the scholarly conversations in addressing OUR challenges.   As Dr. Payton states and is demonstrating through, WE can change the conversation around health in OUR communities.  I would also offer that WE have significant opportunity in being more active, day to day, in OUR specific academic disciplines. 

In influencing the conversations as scholar activist, WE must go wide (offering breadth) and not be afraid to discuss issues, challenges, and concerns that are impacting OUR communities within OUR disciplinary discussions.  Not only does this elucidate and motivate the application of differing lenses of academic inquiry in offering solutions to OUR problems; but, it demonstrates and furthers the case for the power of diversity and inclusion in voice and perspective within the academy that could lead to the ground breaking discoveries and insights that advance OUR disciplines (see [2] for a great example in human-computer interaction (HCI)).

WE must also go deep (offering depth).  Specific to HIV transmission rates, what are the proactive and/or protective strategies being employed within OUR communities that could be leveraged and/or possibly scaled?  Using the referenced CDC report’s findings as an example, what are black women doing that are resulting in a decrease in transmission rates?  Are there approaches (e.g. sexual risk reduction strategies) employed by black women that could be used, tailored, and/or appropriated to address the increase in HIV transmission among black MSM? 

WE, as scholar activists, should be advocating for the sorts of scholarly engagements to answers these types of questions.  WE offer a perspective and viewpoint, a VOICE, in essence, that is empathetic and sensitive to OUR constituents and the associated contextual considerations needed to motivate and facilitate those deeper and more holistic scholarly engagements.  These are the type of engagements that could frame and offer the solutions and innovations so desperately needed in meeting OUR health challenges.

Okay, Sista Dr. Payton, I have sounded my voice.  Now, to put my money where my mouth is!!!

Yours in the cause,



  1. CDC -- HIV Infections (2007-10)
  2. Parker, Andrea G., et al., “Health Promotion as Activism:  Building Community Capacity to Effect Social Change,” CHI’12, ACM (2012), 99-108.

by Khalia Braswell

February 04, 2013

The “Other Red”

Friday marked the first day of Black History and Heart Disease Month! It is not completely ironic that these two months take place simultaneously, considering the impact heart disease has had on the Black community. Heart Disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year [1]. Of African-American women ages 20 and older, 49 percent have heart disease. This is very alarming to me considering both sides of my family have a history of women with high blood pressure.

On Friday, the Kappa Omicron chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated hosted ‘Pink Goes Red’, a Zumba event used to raise awareness of heart disease and give attendees an opportunity to take action towards combating this condition. Other than the fact that I love Zumba, I really wanted to attend because I am a strong advocate for the ‘Go Red For Women’ campaign. As a member of the Mu Omicron chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, I initiated the chapter’s philanthropic efforts to go towards the ‘Go Red For Women’ campaign since our sorority was the first to join the American Heart Association through this effort. Since 2011, we have donated over $300 to the campaign through hosting various events such as ‘Breakfast In Red’, a pancake breakfast which raised money and awareness for Heart Disease. This year, we will have a table set up on the brick yard at NC State during our annual Crimson and Cream Week where we will spread information about heart disease and raise money to donate to the campaign.

A lot of people know how much the color red means to me, especially since my first car, CD player and cell phone was red.  My high school and university’s primary color is red, and my sorority’s color is also red. However, they don’t know that red is also important to me because of heart disease. My great-grandmother passed away because she had not taken her blood pressure medicine for several days leading up to her death. Knowing this and learning about the other diseases that are prevalent in my family has really inspired me to lead a healthier lifestyle by watching what I eat and exercise.

Although My Health Impact Network has an initial focus on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness, we cannot forget about ‘the other red’ - heart disease. People with HIV have more than four time the risk of sudden heart attack as their uninfected peers, according to Dr. Priscilla Y. Hsue [2].


[1] Go Red For Women
[2] Health Attacks in HIV Patients -- NY Times


by Robert Marshall

January 30, 2013

What Can I Do?

What can I really do? The problem of HIV and health awareness in general is one that always felt way too large for one person, especially myself to conquer. I never really talked with my parents about it, because I didn’t want them to think I was overly sexually active, and that I was worried about it. That and the fact that in many households the topics of sex and STD’s are still taboo, often swept under the rug.

Yeah I got tested at yearly awareness drives, but never really felt I was making a difference. However, midway through my senior year I was introduced to the My Health Impact Network, and the project they undertook. I had always felt too small to tackle such a large issue, but here were a group of my peers finding a way to make a serious impact on their community. They were using what they knew, and the skills they had to get people talking, get people caring, and showing the way get involved in the fight.

Once I became an official member of the team it all started to make sense to me. The goal wasn’t to invent the cure for HIV, they knew that was beyond their means, but what they could do was engage the followers, spread the word about breakthroughs. We strive to break through the taboo and create a network of people to support and challenge one another, not just about HIV, but about all health related issues.

We use social media, and recently mobile devices to keep people engaged and in the know.  “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.” That phrase has had new meaning to me in the past few months. I have been challenged to use whatever skills I have to make an imprint on my generation. So I extend that challenge you, not to try to do it all alone, but to use your voice, your skills and your experiences to make an impact. 

What can you do? Only YOU know the true answer to that.


by Dr. Fay Cobb Payton

January 24, 2013

Sound Your Voices

In last week’s blog, Dr. Kvasny wrote about the recent findings reported by the Kaiser Family Foundation.  That is, Black and Latino teens and young adults are concerned about HIV and its impact in their communities.  I look forward to the “young people” turning this concern into action.  Action involves getting educated on the issues.  Education can result in more informed decision-making, and it starts with “you”.  You can change the conversation around health in your community - whether it is HIV and stigma, diabetes and poor nutrition, or heart disease and smoking.  The conversation is influenced by your thoughts, questions, ideas, debates, perceptions and experiences, but you must share them.  This sharing gives you a voice. 

At, I invite you to share in the discussion by following and talking to us on Twitter @myhealthimpact.   Recent interesting tweets have referenced the movie, Django Unchained, President Obama’s 2013 Inauguration and the myHealthImpact team INFORMS Conference photo collection.  Comment on the site blogs.  We have had blogs on “The Test You Cannot Study For”, “HIV Influence on Music”, “HIV and the Black Church”, “Creating a User Experience” and “Music – Part 2: Black Girls That Rock”.  Watch us on YouTube (more is coming here).  Subscribe to the myHealthImpact newsletter. 

The “my” in myHealthImpact is about you.  Start a conversation with us.  What topics would interest you?  Sound your voices.  If not now, then when?

Dr. Fay Cobb Payton


by Dr. Lynette Kvasny

January 15, 2013

Despite What Some May Think: Black and Latino Teens and Young Adults “Very Concerned” about HIV

A 2012 survey of 15-24 year olds conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that three in four respondent viewed hIV/AIDS as a serious issue for their generation.  However, for young people of color, HIV/AIDS is seen as significantly more important. Perhaps this is because these young people of color are from communities that have been disproportionately affected by this disease. By race, Blacks face the most severe HIV burden. According to the CDC, Blacks represent approximately 14% of the U.S. population, but they accounted for almost half (46%) of people living with HIV in the U.S. in 2008, as well as an estimated 44% of new infections in 2009. Latinos represent 16% of the population but accounted for an estimated 17% of people living with HIV in 2008 and 20% of new infections in 2009. For both groups, these rates have been stable since the 1990s, according to the CDC.

While 32% of whites said that this was a "very serious" issue for their generation, nearly twice as many Black (62%) and Latino (61%) youths viewed HIV/AIDS as "very serious". Black and Latino respondents stated that HIV/AIDS is a deeply personal and societal concern.  Black youths say that they are "very concerned" (49%) or at least "somewhat concerned" (21%) personally about HIV/AIDS. Latinos also reported high levels of concern with 32% saying they are "very concerned" and 16% saying they are "somewhat concerned." In comparison, only 35% of whites expressed personal concern (17% "very" and 18% "somewhat").

Youths generally agree that it is possible for people with HIV to live healthy and productive lives (25% "strongly agree" and 54% "somewhat agree"). However, stigma persists as a barrier to be overcome with a third say that there is still "a lot" of stigma around  HIV/AIDS.  Youth also seek to acquire more knowledge about this disease, including basic facts like how to prevent the spread of HIV (36%), who should get tested (35%), and how to talk to you partner about getting tested (34%) and prevention (27%).

Finally, young people remain optimistic about ending AIDS in their lifetime (74%).  For Black youths, in particular, there is a desire to have a role in helping to eradicate HIV/AIDS, with 25% saying they would play a major role (25%) or at least some role (45%). My Health Impact Network welcomes youths seeking to educate peers about HIV prevention.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 2012, HIV/AIDS 101: US Statistics, last accessed January 15, 2013 

Kaiser Family Foundation, 2012, AIDS is a Deeply Personal as swell as Societal Concern for Young Americans of Color, last accessed January 15, 2013 from 



by Niasha A. Brown

January 07, 2013

How Can HIV/AIDs Be Eliminated In The African American Communitiy?

As we review headlines and cutting edge research emerging from national and international agencies such as CDC, NIH, and WHO, we notice that the fight to eliminate HIV/AIDS as a threat to life across the globe is becoming more within our reach.  The contrast is that the development of a vaccine and a cure is still a long time coming for those who are living with and most at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS.  The African American community is commonly experiencing and at risk for the most averse health conditions, and that includes HIV/AIDS.  Considering that the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been ravaging our community for more than 30 years, we have to consider what makes this issue so much more prevalent in our community for such a consistent and growing number of years. 

I propose strategies to eliminating minority health disparities related to HIV/AIDS within the African American community.  One is providing comprehensive mental health care (including substance abuse treatment) at a reduced rate or for free to address the challenges that African Americans face in navigating the micro-aggressions and life stressors that they experience in daily life, within their families, and in their sexual and romantic relationships.  More accountability for medical and scientific negligence and malpractice must be enforced through regulations that see to it, that true human protections are secured for all patients and research subjects.  This must be done not just as a means to compensate patients for inappropriate or harmful medical errors, but also a means to correct and improve the science and art of medical practice.  Remaining committed to improving the standards of equitable, accountable, and high quality care for all patients will only make people more trusting and willing to adhere to the medical advice and treatment guidelines of their providers, medical institutions, and insurance companies.   It is also important to improve early and primary educations initiatives to give African American youth the skills and confidence to thrive within STEM education.  Increasing the pipeline of future health care providers through more readily available financial incentives for graduate and professional studies in the medical sciences is critical to correcting provider shortages.  Finally the development and implementation of universal health care reform is necessary for effective and sustained changes to be made in addressing health care disparities, especially for African Americans. provides an opportunity to discuss these and other issues related to health disparities.  The site also provides the opportunity to discuss health, social and economic empowerment, particularly among young adults who can offer their views and put the “my” in myhealthimpact.  How can you put the “my” to empower desirable health, social and economic development? How is your relationship with your “health” provider? How can you use your college studies in a way to drive meaningful “impact”?

Your comments are welcome.

Follow the MyHIN team @myhealthimpact on Twitter.

Niasha A. Brown, Ph.D. Student


by Khiry Arnold

December 17, 2012

Your Health: Mobile

Find me someone who is not carrying a smartphone and I’d give you a buck.  Find someone who is as attached to their health as they are to their phone, then I’d give you 100 bucks.  Through the use of a MyHealthImpactNetwork App, our team plans to convert the way we use our smartphones, and have the masses being as health-conscious as they are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter-conscious.

I am working on developing the prototype version on the Android Platform.  With over 1.3 million Android devices activated daily, and over 480 million users, the MyHealthImpactNetwork has a large group to connect.  Additionally, the Google-based Android platform features a variety of native services which feature functionality similar to what is hosted on the MyHealthImpactNetwork website.  Features, such as Google Maps, can be used to locate health centers in a user’s local area, or other health-related locales while on the go. 

Thus far, the biggest challenge with developing the MyHealthImpactNetwork App has been in ensuring reusability.  To this effect, I am researching different manners which will optimize the App for a mobile experience, and offer particular incentives that will separate the App from an experience too similar to the MyHealthImpactNetwork website.  And while we’re starting with development for Android, we will eventually begin development of the app for other mobile platforms, such as iOS.

Working with Dr. Payton and the team has been a tremendously enlightening experience.  The project shoves a direct spotlight on maintaining health, which isn’t typically on the forefront of a college student’s mind.  Through this project, I’ve learned about preventative measures to maintain my health, and the common consequences associated with a less than responsible lifestyle.  Hopefully through the implementation of the MHIN Android App and forthcoming iOS App, we will be able to expand the influence of the MyHealthImpactNetwork, and ensure that more people will utilize their resources to stay on top of their health.


by Khalia Braswell

December 10, 2012

#WAD2012: I Am An Activist

Saturday, December 1, 2012 was the first time I have ever participated in World AIDS Day. In the past, I honestly did not know that December 1st was observed as World AIDS Day. I do not remember anyone in my social networks talking about this day so it was not something that I committed to memory. Being on this project has forever changed that.

Personally, I was on a social media hiatus in order to focus on my studies since it was the last full week of school; however, on December 1st, I made an exception and I made sure to tell my friends, family, and colleagues that December 1st was World AIDS Day and that they should be informed. I tried to give them simple options to participate, such as dedicating a status to the cause, attending an on-campus event, tuning in to the Worlds AIDS Day event broadcasting live via, or visiting

I was very active on our Twitter account leading up to World AIDS Day trying to help tell our followers about #WAD2012 (the hashtag dedicated to the day). I supported other organizations in their effort to raise awareness in order to make an even greater impact. I found it very interesting to see the oil company, Chevron, raising awareness for the cause so I sent them a tweet. I commended Chevron on its ‘AIDS Will Lose’ campaign and asked them to check out our site. I was very surprised when they responded back! This gave me a different perspective of the company and made me realize that everyone was pulling together to raise HIV/AIDS awareness.

Other than participating in Relay for Life while in High School and wearing a pink pin in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this was the first ‘awareness’ day that I have tried to be apart of. Attending the Red Pump Red Tie event hosted by the @RedPumpProj in Charlotte was a great way to spend #WAD2012! The event was very creative with tying in alarming facts (did you know that North Carolina was #12 in the amount of HIV/AIDS cases in the US, and Mecklenburg County was #1 in North Carolina?!) and entertainment through a fashion show, music, and art.

This project ( has raised my awareness of what’s going on in the world around me. I realize that I officially join the ranks of my idols Sheryl Lee Ralph, Alicia Keys, Bono, and Bill Gates as an HIV/AIDS activist! I am now inspired to use new technology to make a social change in the world. My Health Impact Network is proof that it is possible!

How did you spend your World AIDS Day? Are you an activist as well? Let us know, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @MyHealthImpact.


Page 16 of 18 pages ‹ First  < 14 15 16 17 18 > 

In Partnership with: National Science Foundation