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Knowledge of sexually-transmitted infections and the relationship to sexual behaviors in young adult females

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Mayer, Heather
Smith, Rosemary
Apr 10, 2009
Sexually transmitted infections; Sexually transmitted diseases, Health knowledge; Teenagers, Sexual behavior and practice
Sexually-transmitted infections (STls) continue to affect millions of Americans each year. If left untreated, STls can cause long-term health effects, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility or even death. Sexually-transmitted infections are transmitted through unprotected sexual behavior. Despite attempts to increase public knowledge on STls, education has failed to change long-term risky sexual behavior, leaving young females at risk for STls. In order for nurse practitioners to begin aiding in the educational process, it is important to gather baseline knowledge of what young adult females currently know about STls. The purpose of this non-experimental, descriptive, correlational study was to identify and describe the relationship between knowledge of STls and sexual behavior among young adult females. Beck's (1974) Health Belief Model served as the theoretical framework for the study. A non-probability convenience sample of young women was solicited from three family planning clinics in a Midwestern state. The Sexually-Transmitted Infections Survey was used to collect data regarding sexual behaviors and knowledge of STls. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficient, and independent t-tests were utilized to describe the following relationships among: (a) knowledge of STls and sexual behavior; (b) having a history of an STI related to sexual behavior and knowledge of STls; and (c) age at first intercourse related to sexual behavior, knowledge of STls, and having a history of an 8"1"1. Results indicated that participants who had more knowledge regarding STls were less likely to engage in risky behaviors and less likely to have had a history of an STI, compared to those participants with less knowledge of STls. Participants who engaged in riskier sexual behavior were more likely to have a history of an STI, compared with those participants who did not engage in risk sexual behaviors. Participants who had intercourse at a younger age engaged in riskier sexual behaviors, had less knowledge of STls, and were more likely to acquire an STI when compared to those young adult females who had sexual intercourse at a later age.
A Clinical Paper Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner --University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, 2008
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