Gender-based differences in fertility beliefs and knowledge among adolescents from high sexually transmitted disease-prevalence communities
ABSTRACT Limited information is available about adolescents' beliefs about fertility in women and its link to sexually transmitted disease (STD) and whether men and women differ in their beliefs. This information may be useful for developing messages intended to motivate youth to seek STD screening while they are asymptomatic. The purpose of this study was to examine gender-based differences in fertility beliefs and knowledge.
Data were derived from the Adolescent Health Study, a population-based telephone survey study in which urban household adolescents from a high STD-prevalence community were queried about their sexual experience, fertility-related knowledge, beliefs related to timing of childbearing, and risk assessment of future fertility problems. Chi2 and regression analyses were used to evaluate group differences.
The majority of adolescents reported that having children was somewhat or very important, but that the 15- to 19-year-old age group was not the optimal time for a woman to have a child. Regression analyses indicated that female adolescents were more likely than male adolescents to identify chlamydia and pelvic inflammatory disease as causes of fertility problems. Seventy-two percent of adolescent girls thought there was some chance they would have future fertility problems and 58% thought they had little or no control over developing fertility problems in the future.
Additional health education is needed if we are to motivate adolescents to participate in asymptomatic STD screening programs. Involving male adolescents may be a more significant challenge given that fewer male adolescents understand the link between female fertility and common STD-related conditions. Given our findings, fertility preservation may be a valuable teaching tool and social marketing agent for STD prevention in adolescents.
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ABSTRACT: To assess the feasibility and generalizability of STD clinic samples for studying STD-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors (KAB), and healthcare preferences among individuals at high risk for STDs in the same community. An STD clinic and a community sample were selected from each of two urban areas in New York State. At each STD clinic, 100 individuals were interviewed. In each community, about 400 individuals were selected by random-digit-dialing telephone survey during the same period. Community sample participants were defined as having high-risk profiles on the basis of five items related to their sexual behaviors. The STD clinic samples were younger and had a larger proportion of men and nonwhite people compared with the high-risk community samples. Although the majority of STD clinic clients would seek healthcare at the STD clinics, high-risk community participants were more likely to prefer private doctors for STDs care (P < .0001 for both areas). Overall STD-related KAB were similar between STD clinic and high-risk community samples; however, STD clinic clients may be more knowledgeable about specific STDs and more likely to feel embarrassment about getting an STD. The findings comparing KAB between high-risk community subjects and STD clinic attendees also varied by geographic location. STD clinic samples may not be sufficiently representative of community STD-related KAB collected by telephone surveys, even for that subset of community respondents with high-risk behaviors associated with STDs.Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP 01/2008; 14(5):454-63. DOI:10.1097/01.PHH.0000333880.63195.e4 · 1.47 Impact Factor