Racial and ethnic minorities, women and infants, youth, and other special needs populations have been found to be disproportionately affected by infectious disease morbidity and mortality, particularly Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Being a vital component of the health care delivery system, nurses play an important role in improving the health of these vulnerable populations. Twenty-six studies reporting results from evaluations of prevention strategies targeting HIV/AIDS and other STDs among vulnerable populations were reviewed. The more effective interventions appeared to be those that tailored their program content to the specific risk factors of their target population and included skills training in their curriculum. Although nurses have contributed significantly in understanding the risk factors of vulnerable groups in the United States through cross-sectional research studies, more research is needed in the evaluation of intervention programs that use this knowledge to develop and implement prevention programs, particularly at a population-based level.
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