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U.S. News

Illinois: Frank Talk From the Sex Doctor

July 31, 2009

Hyde Park sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross, who dispenses advice about sex and reproductive health on radio stations B96 and Power 92, as well as the BET cable channel, has developed a growing fan base among young people in Chicago and beyond.

Ross' mission is to address the misguided attitudes and dangerous sexual behaviors that are helping fuel high rates of HIV, other STDs, and out-of-wedlock births in the African-American community. "Black households have been traditionally very conservative in talking about sex, with disastrous effects," said Ross, a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Nashville's historically black Meharry Medical College.

Ross, who grew up in a strict and conservative household, said she became interested in how sex impacts people's physical and emotional well-being after volunteering to help HIV/AIDS patients while at Vanderbilt. "Some of my fellow volunteers went on to study the virus, but I wanted to study how sex can change your life," she said.

After becoming certified as a sexologist by the American Board of Sexology, Ross began publishing information about sexuality, sexual health, and relationships on her Web site,

"We were all a little taken aback," said her sister Rebekkah, who is also a physician. "But we all became very supportive of her when we realized that she was working to combat STDs in our community and help people be fulfilled and happy in many different aspects of their lives."

Ross advocates abstinence for teens, but she believes those who do have sex must know how to protect themselves. While sex is a part of healthy, happy adult relationships, it must come with commitment and honest discussions about sexual behavior and preferences, she believes.

Back to other news for July 2009

Adapted from:
Chicago Tribune
07.27.2009; Megan Twohey

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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