Consumer-Based Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening Among Young Adult Women: The Negative Influence of the Social System

Stacey B. Griner, Jaquetta M. Reeves, Nathaniel J. Webb, Kaeli C. Johnson, Nolan Kline, Erika L. Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background Young adults (ages 18-24 years) are disproportionately burdened by sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but STI screening rates are low among this age group. Negative social factors, such as stigma, influence STI screening behavior, but it is unknown if alternative methods such as consumer-based screening can reduce these barriers. This study examined how stigma impacts consumer-based STI testing among young adult women. Methods Qualitative data were collected via in-depth interviews with sexually active women aged 18 to 24 years enrolled at a large public university in the South (n = 24). Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed thematically with a priori and emergent codes by 2 coders (κ = 0.83). Results Participants from this study perceived that sexual activity was viewed positively for men but negatively stigmatized for women. Furthermore, lack of sexuality education in schools was another contributor to stigma because abstinence-only education is commonly provided in this region. Participants felt that offering information on consumer-based STI screening methods may be beneficial to address these barriers. Conclusions Stigma and social influences must be accounted for in future research and interventions to meet the STI screening needs of young adult women. Findings from this research can inform the development of targeted interventions for women who may perceive heightened stigma to STI screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)596-600
Number of pages5
JournalSexually Transmitted Diseases
Volume49
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022

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