East and South East Asian women’s sexual health


Key take-home messages
  • There is very little research that exclusively focuses on the sexual health and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and/or HIV prevention for East and South East Asian women. Existing research suggests that although this population may be less likely to be sexually active than the general population, those that are sexually active engage in sexual and substance use behaviours that may put them at risk of becoming infected with STIs or HIV.
  • Substance use such as alcohol use, illicit drug use, binge drinking, and substance use preceding sex was reported as increasing the risk of engaging in risk sexual behaviors.
  • Acculturation was associated with STI/HIV risk activities and sexual health engagement. Higher levels of acculturation were reported as increasing the odds of engaging in sexual risk behaviours; alternatively acculturation was also associated with high self-efficacy in risk reduction and sexual health engagement.
  • Studies reporting comparisons to other populations found that East and South East Asian women tended to have lower levels of HIV knowledge and lower rates of sexual health care utilization. The findings suggest that factors such as cultural mores and practices, language barriers, financial constraints, and parental attachments were influential to health care utilization of East and South East Asian women.
  • Due to diversity of this population, it is import to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate HIV education programs that address gender, youth culture and ethnocultural practices and key providers of these programs (and HIV prevention efforts in general) likely include cultural institutions (e.g., religious organizations and educational institutions) as well as parents and healthcare providers.
  • Several studies assessed sexual health and STI/HIV prevention efforts among East and South East Asian women who engaged in sex work and found that educational messages need to address the context of sex work (e.g., economic constraints, immigration status, exposure to violence, substance use, and cultural and linguistic barriers) and include all parties (e.g., customers and massage parlor owners) that impact engagement in HIV preventative behaviors.
  • There was limited research evidence focused on the sexual health and STI/HIV prevention among transgendered women.


The Ontario HIV Treatment Network: Rapid Response Service




  • Determinants of Health
    • Health services
    • Abuse
  • Population(s)
    • Women
    • Transgender communities
    • Ethnoracial communities
    • Sex workers
  • Engagement and Care Cascade
    • Treatment
  • Prevention
    • Sexual risk behaviour
    • Education/media campaigns
  • Testing
    • Testing
  • Substance Use
    • Alcohol
    • Nonmedicinal drugs


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