252938 STIs in the university population: Confidant choices and motivations for testing

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Kristine Dzara, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, SIU School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Wiley D. Jenkins, PhD, MPH , Family and Community Medicine, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Springfield, IL
Lisabeth DiLalla, PhD , Family and Community Medicine, SIU School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL
Background University interventions for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) utilize broad advertising strategies. Strategies based upon student preferences may increase conversation and screening.

Objective To determine student comfort discussing sex, condoms, and STIs, and motivations for STI information and screening.

Methods Undergraduate student survey, 2011.

Results 289 valid surveys, 54.3% male, 51.2% white, mean age 19.4 years. Overall, participants reported their top three confidants for discussing sex and condoms were current partners, close friends, and same-gender physicians. Females reported greater comfort than males in discussing/negotiating condom use (p=0.032), sexual history (p=0.016), and STI testing (p=0.011) with their partners.

Regarding factors leading to seeking STI information (INFO) and agreeing to be screened (SCREENED), more females than males would seek INFO, especially if: partner was unfaithful (89.3% vs 63.1%, respectively; p=0.001), had unprotected sex (80.2% vs 58.0%; p=0.001), a friend was infected (71.0% vs 50.3%; p=0.001). More females would be SCREENED, especially if: test was free (80.2% vs 62.1%, respectively; p=0.004), parents wouldn't find out (73.3% vs 56.2%; p=0.001), one-night-stand (79.2% vs 52.3%; p=0.001), considered part of a healthy lifestyle (71.8% vs 49.7%; p=0.001). Overall, participants would likely agree to test if their partner told them they were infected (95.1%), asked by physician (89.5%), asked by partner (85.3%).

Conclusions Females were more comfortable discussing sex and condom use, seeking information, and agreeing to be screened. Partner's influence increased these behaviors for everyone. Interventions encouraging sexuality discussions between partners and reducing adverse screening perceptions (cost, anonymity) may be effective.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. To assess student comfort with discussing sex, condom use, and STIs. 2. To ascertain motivations for STI information seeking and screening.

Keywords: STD, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 13 years state PH experience, 4 years academic experience and a MPH and PhD in public health-epidemiology.
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.