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CONTEXT: Limited information is available on factors associated with STDs among Asian and Pacific Islander young adults. Such information is vital to developing effective interventions to reduce STDs within this group.

METHODS: Data were derived from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, Wave 3; the sample consisted of 605 female and 578 male Asian and Pacific Islander young adults. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess factors associated with ever having had an STD.

RESULTS: Thirteen percent of females and 4% of males had ever had an STD. Among those who had had an STD, 75% were female, 9% had ever been paid for sex, 31% had had sex before age 15 and 55% had had multiple sex partners in the previous 12 months. Being female (odds ratio, 4.1), being Indian (compared with being Filipino; 4.8), having ever been paid money for sex (4.7) and having had more than one sex partner in the past 12 months (2.5) were associated with increased odds of having had an STD diagnosis. The more respondents believed that STDs were responsive to treatment, the greater their odds of having had an STD (2.3); the more they believed that STDs had negative consequences for a relationship, the lower their odds of having had an STD (0.7).

CONCLUSIONS: Asian and Pacific Islander women and Indians are priority groups for both research and clinical attention; prevention efforts to reduce STDs should be tailored to these groups. Clinicians working with Asians and Pacific Islanders need to focus on clients’ number of sexual partners and health-related beliefs.