Couples Evade Discussing STI Testing

It is safe to say that most individuals are informed about the risks relating to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and how they can be prevented or treated. Whilst this shift in knowledge can be attributed to increasing attention in educational settings as well as media, it cannot be argued that the importance of this message will always translate into personal relationships. This was recently supported by a study that received significant attention at a health conference in USA.

The study, which was conducted in the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, suggested that there is a divergence between talking about (STIs) in public than it is in private. The findings were then presented at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting at the beginning of November. Overall, the study included 181 participants who completed an online questionnaire. All the participants reported to be sexually active and considered their ethnicity to be white. The average age of the sample was 26 and the majority reported high educational attainment. Whilst several findings emerged from the data, including participants admitting to deceiving their partners about their sexual past and rarely getting tested with casual partners, the result that received the most attention were the findings that very few of the participants had discussed testing for STIs with a long-term monogamous partner. As a result of this, the researchers urged that more innovative strategies are utilised to research this field.

These findings do not surprise us, as challenges in research concerning sexual health are well documented. Based on these findings it could be speculated that the conversation of sexual health matters does not come up either in casual or long-term relationships, mostly due to the stigma attached to it. However, it is worth bearing in mind that this is only a small study, with a sample limited not only in size but also in demographic diversity, where we have not been provided with evidence of controlling for various factors. Nevertheless, it brings up some interesting findings worth exploring in future research.

We came across this helpful resource that explains the reasons why it is important to discuss sexual health matters