Patterns of and associations with testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI) among students at a public university in the southeastern United States
Methods: In Spring 2013, we invited a representative group of 2,500 undergraduate/graduate students to complete a web-based survey on sexual behavior. Those completing the survey were entered into a prize drawing. Reported STI and HIV testing, ever, are the main outcomes in this analysis; logistic regression models identified predictors of testing.
Results: A total of 634 respondents (25%) completed the survey. Respondents were 60% female, 52% Non-Hispanic White, 12% Hispanic, 14% Black, and 19% Asian, with median age of 21. Among sexually active respondents, 46% (N=192) reported STI testing; 41% (N=171) reported HIV testing; 34% were tested for both. Average years since STI and HIV testing was 1.8 (SD=1.8) and 1.8 (SD=2.0), respectively. Among those never tested for STI, reasons included: not considering self at-risk (68%), not experiencing symptoms (37%), and consistently using barrier methods (34%). For HIV testing, reasons included: not considering self at-risk (71%), used barrier methods consistently (34%), and knowing that their status was negative (34%). Female sex, confidence in STI communication with partner, and ability to advocate for less risky sexual activities were significantly associated with STI testing. Female sex, minority status and attitudes towards testing and risk communication were significantly associated with HIV testing.
Discussion: STI/HIV testing was low, with many students demonstrating misconceptions. More education is needed about STI/HIV testing options and guidelines.
Learning Areas:Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
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 research
Describe what percentage of students obtain STI and/or HIV testing on a college campus in the southeastern United States Identify factors associated with receipt of STI/HIV testing among college students
Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Adolescent Health
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the health assessment specialist within Student Wellness at UNC-CH. In my position, I analyze health data of college students, both at the university and on a national level. As a doctoral student in epidemiology, my research interests and background lie in the intersection of infectious diseases and mental health, and how the two influence each other over time.
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.