163522 A Case Study of Students' Perceptions and Beliefs about Sexually Transmitted Infections

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Heather R. Pavlich, MPH , Kent State University, Stow, OH
William Antil , Kent State University, Kent, OH
Amy J. Thompson, Ph D , Adult, Health, Counseling and Vocational Education, Kent State University, Kent, OH
Dianne L. Kerr, PhD , Kent State University, Kent, OH

Objective: To determine undergraduates' perceptions and beliefs toward HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the Kent State University Kent Campus during a semester period. Method: A college health risk behavior questionnaire was used to collect data from 421 undergraduate students at Kent State University, Kent campus. Results: Thirty-eight percent of participants had their first sexual intercourse between the ages of 17 and 19. Participants that indicated having sexual intercourse within the month prior to completing out the questionnaire showed that 18.8% never used a condom during sexual intercourse versus 19.2% who always used a condom. Eleven percent claimed to have used a condom most of the time and 7.6% sometimes or rarely used condoms as a method of protection. Thirty one percent of participants used condoms as the primary method of preventing pregnancy, 24.2% used birth control pills, 5.9% utilized the withdrawal method, and 14.7% used no method of birth control. Fifty percent of participants perceived themselves to be at no risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted infection while 80% believed that sexually transmitted infections are important issues. Conclusion: The study has indicated that the majority of students experience their first sexual intercourse between the ages of 17 and 19, the average age of those attending college. Regardless of participation in sexual activity, students on average did not perceive themselves to be at risk for acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the general nature of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among undergraduate college students. 2. Explain why STI rates are so high among college students. 3. Explain the attitudes that contribute to these high rates. 4. Explain the sense of invulnerability that exists among young adults in regards to STIs. 5. Explain further the dangers that STIs present among this age group. 6. Outline public health measures for reducing this risk of STIs among college students.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.