SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • beliefs;
  • screening;
  • sexually transmitted diseases;
  • women's health

Abstract

Objective

Sexually transmitted disease (STD) testing is fundamental to STD prevention and control. We sought to comprehensively examine young women's beliefs about the STD testing process.

Design and Sample

Descriptive, cross-sectional, survey investigation. Women aged 18–24 (n = 302) drawn from four women's health clinics and one university classroom.

Measures

Participants completed the RoTEST, which measures five domains of women's STD testing beliefs and a demographic survey.

Results

Many women believed they would be screened for all STDs when they receive STD testing (40%) and that visual inspection by a provider was a valid method of STD screening for gonorrhea (35%), chlamydia (32%) and HSV (77%). More than a quarter believed that a Pap test screens for gonorrhea (23%) and chlamydia (26%). Twenty-one percent reported that discussing STD testing with a provider is difficult and most reported feeling more comfortable seeking STD testing from an STD specialist rather than a family doctor (79%).

Conclusions

Young women have numerous misconceptions about the STD testing process that may interfere with the validity of their self-reported STD testing history and subsequently undermine public health efforts to improve STD prevention and control. Innovative approaches to educating women about the testing process are needed.