Online Program

How communication about STI status affects sexual behavior decision-making

Monday, November 4, 2013

Margo Mullinax, Ph.D., MPH, School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Michael Reece, PhD, MPH, School of Public Health, Indiana University-Bloomington, Bloomington, IN
Background: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a major public health concern. While testing has been proven as an important individual behavior, overall research fails to thoroughly investigate how testing practices affect safe sex behavior. This research serves to bridge these gaps by investigating how STI conversations impact subsequent sexual behavior. Method: Data for this research comes from an online questionnaire conducted April-May 2012. Mixed method data was analyzed from 181 participants, mainly women (79.6% and 20.4% men), with a mean age of 26. The majority of the sample was white (82.3%) and heterosexual (79.6%). Results: The majority of participants had received an STI test (77.3%), but approximately 45.1% of the participants were unsure what they had been tested for. During the last 6 months, the majority of participants had never discussed with their partner how to use a condom (45.7%), how to prevent HIV (65.9%), nor how to prevent STIs (48.6%), even though the majority of participants reported being very comfortable talking about these topics. Of those who did not talk about STIs with their partner, 62.9% then engaged in vaginal sex without a condom and 46.6% engaged in vaginal sex with a condom. After discussing STI status, 67.3% of participants then had vaginal sex without a condom and 48.1% had vaginal sex without a condom. Future research will compare between those who did and did not communication about STIs. Conclusion: This research project has the potential to impact public health recommendations around testing in relation to partner transmission.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss how communication about STI testing affects subsequent sexual behavior decision-making. Identify predictors of communicating about STIs. Describe STI testing behaviors.

Keyword(s): Communication, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As Project Coordinator at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, Margo assumes leadership of a multiple research projects from data collection to analysis and dissemination. Awarded various grants, Margo has also conducted independent research on sexual health topics domestically and abroad. While working on her PhD in Health Behavior, she has been involved with mentoring undergraduate students in qualitative methodology.
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.

Back to: 3298.0: HIV/AIDS and sexual health