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Medical News

Relationships Between Perceived STD-Related Stigma, STD-Related Shame and STD Screening Among a Household Sample of Adolescents

June 22, 2010

Individuals' perceptions of STD-related stigma (negative societal attitudes toward STD infection) and expectations of STD-related shame (negative personal feelings) that would result from a positive test can be important barriers to STD testing. "Obtaining a clear understanding of the relationship between STD-related stigma, STD-related shame, and STD testing may help inform programs and policies aimed at reducing STD transmission," the authors wrote in introducing the current study.

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In an urban household sample, 594 sexually active persons, ages 15 to 24, were interviewed from 2004 to 2007. Measures derived from previously published scales were used to assess perceived STD-related stigma, anticipated STD-related shame, and receipt of an STD test in the past year. Logistic regression was employed to examine associations between recent STD testing and perceived stigma, shame, and other participant characteristics.

In all, 37 percent of males and 70 percent of females reported having an STD test in the past year. For 59 percent of females and 42 percent of males, the testing was conducted in the context of a routine health care visit, not because the patient reported disease symptoms or indicated concern over possible exposure. For both genders, the level of STD-related stigma was negatively associated with the odds of having been tested (odds ratio, 0.5 for each). The results showed STD-related shame was not related to STD testing.

"Adolescents who view STDs as stigmatizing have a reduced likelihood of being screened, but it is unclear whether this relationship reflects their care seeking or providers' practice of offering STD screening at a routine health visit," the authors concluded.

Back to other news for June 2010

Adapted from:
Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health
12.01.2009; Vol. 41; No. 4: P. 225-230; Shayna D. Cunningham; Deanna L. Kerrigan; Jacky M. Jennings; Jonathan M. Ellen


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
See Also
What Does HIV/AIDS Stigma Look Like in Your Life?
More on Stigma and HIV/AIDS

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