7th Annual Judith Ramaley Celebration of Research and Creative Scholarship
WSU Students’ Knowledge of the Various ‘Costs’ of Sexual Health
Tamra Van Den Elzen, Bryce Odegarden, Jake Humnick, Ayan Jama
Faculty Mentor: Peter Sternberg
Motivation/problem statement. Nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) reported in the USA in 2010 occurred among people aged 15-24 (CDC, 2011). However, few young people understand the true underlying ‘costs’ of contracting an STI: the financial, social, and emotional consequences (Kurkowski et al., 2012). This study aimed to find out what Winona State University students know about STI’s and their social ‘costs.’
Methods/procedure/approach. IRB approval was given to email a 19 item on-line (Qualtrics) questionnaire to a randomized sample of under-graduate students at Winona State University. The instrument tested students’ knowledge of STI’s and the social consequences of being infected.
Results/findings/products. 241 students completed surveys. Respondents had reasonable general knowledge of STI’s: 77% knew that both men and women can become infertile if they have an untreated STI and 70% knew that using condoms correctly will not prevent all STI’s.
Only 35% of respondents correctly approximated the financial costs of STI testing without health insurance. 33% were not sure whether someone could be sued for not informing a partner that they had an STI. Of currently sexually active respondents, 34% reported that they did not talk to their partner about the risk of an STI before having sex.
Conclusion/implications. While most respondents have reasonable general knowledge about STI’s, they were not well aware of the social and financial risks as well as the long-term consequences of infection. There is a need for a program that would provide education about the social consequences of STI’s.
References. 1. CDC (2011) Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance 2010. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2. Kurkowski J.P, Hsieh G., Sokkary N., Santos, X., Bercaw-Pratt J.L., Dietrich J.E (2012) Knowledge of sexually transmitted infections among adolescents in the Houston area presenting for reproductive healthcare at Texas Children’s Hospital. Journal of Pediatric Adolescent Gynecology; 25(3): 213-7.