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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
5080.0: Wednesday, December 14, 2005 - 9:00 AM

Abstract #105842

Gender differences in college students’ perceptions of individuals with a sexually transmitted infection: Results from pilot study research

Megan L. Rickard, MS, CHES, Department of Health Education & Behavior, University of Florida, 3616 Almeda Dr, Toledo, OH 43612, 517-673-0820, mrickard@hotmail.com, Lisa L. Lindley, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, PO Box 118210, Room 5 FLG, Gainesville, FL 32611, and Delores C.S. James, PhD, RD, LD, Health Education and Behavior, University of Florida, PO Box 118210, Room 5 FLG, Gainesville, FL 32611.

Each year, approximately 3 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are reported among young people under the age of 25 years. Although exact numbers of STIs among college students are not known, college students frequently engage in sexual behaviors that place them at risk for STIs. Moreover, college students often delay or avoid seeking testing for STIs because of social stigma or concern over being perceived as “loose,” “dirty,” “stupid,” irresponsible” and/or “not caring” about themselves. In addition, stigma and shame associated with having an STI/HIV are frequently cited as reasons individuals with an infection fear disclosing their status to sex partner(s). However, research into the perceptions that college students actually have of individuals with different STIs has not been conducted. Thus, in order to determine students' perceptions of individuals infected with HIV, other viral STIs (genital warts/genital herpes), and bacterial STIs (gonorrhea/Chlamydia), a pilot survey was conducted with a convenience sample of 198 undergraduate college students (aged 18-25 years) at one southeastern University. Overall, both male and female undergraduates had more positive perceptions of individuals infected with HIV than individuals infected with other STIs. However, males had significantly more negative perceptions of individuals with an STI/HIV than females. This session will report on these and other findings and make recommendations regarding future research into college students' perceptions of individuals with an STI/HIV.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: STD Prevention, Patient Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

I wish to disclose that I have NO financial interests or other relationship with the manufactures of commercial products, suppliers of commercial services or commercial supporters.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Infections in Women

The 133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition (December 10-14, 2005) of APHA