240245 STIs among young adult females in the US: Does sexual identity make a difference?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 10:30 AM

Lisa L. Lindley, DrPH, MPH, CHES , Department of Global and Community Health, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA
Katrina M. Walsemann, PhD , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Jarvis W. Carter Jr., MPH , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Few studies have assessed risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among young adult women by sexual identity. We analyzed Wave IV (2007/8) restricted data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative sample of individuals who were enrolled in grades 7 through 12 in 1994/5. Respondents were 24 to 34 years old in 2007/8. Analyses were restricted to female respondents assigned a probability weight, who had at least one sex partner in their lifetime, and reported their sexual identity (n= 7,310). We employed multivariate logistic regression to examine the association between sexual identity and risk of STI diagnosis (past year), after adjustment for socio-demographics (age, race/ethnicity, education, income, employment, marital status), sexual behaviors (oral, anal and vaginal sex; number of lifetime sex partners; gender of sex partners; ever physically forced to have sex), and other behaviors (cigarette smoking, binge drinking, illicit drug use, routine doctor check-up). Overall, 13% of young adult women reported an STI in the past year. Sexual identity was significantly associated with an STI diagnosis; 12.0% of straight women, 17.8% of mostly straight women, 19.1% of bisexual women, and 7.1% of mostly gay/gay women reported an STI diagnosis in the past year. In multivariate analyses, young adult women who were non-Hispanic Black, unmarried, cohabitating, had three or more sex partners during their lifetime, and had both male and female sex partners during their lifetime were at increased odds of reporting an STI diagnosis in the past year. Sexual health programs targeting young adult women, regardless of sexual identity, must focus on behavioral risks associated with STIs. Additional research is needed to understand increased risk among young adult women who are sexually active with both sexes.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify the percent of young adult women (ages 24-34 years) who reported a doctor diagnosed STI within the past 12 months; Describe factors significantly associated with a doctor diagnosed STI (past 12 months) among young adult women in the U.S.; and Determine whether young adult women's sexual identity was associated with STI risk.

Keywords: STD Prevention, Women's Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct research in and teach courses regarding HIV/STI prevention and sexual health promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.