Burrell CN, Sharon MJ, Bassler J, Davidov DM. Gender Differences in Sexual Health Knowledge Among Emerging Adults in Acute-Care Settings. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2019;119(5):289–298. doi: https://doi.org/10.7556/jaoa.2019.050.
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Emerging adults (aged 18-25 years) are increasingly seeking evaluation in acute-care clinics for sexual health–related concerns to receive treatment and education.
To assess the sexual health knowledge of emerging adult patients by gender at acute-care health centers.
A prospective, self-administered survey was distributed from August 2014 through May 2016 to patients aged 18 to 24 years who presented to 1 of 4 acute-care locations in a university town in a mid-Atlantic state. Analyses included descriptive statistics, as well as χ2 and Fisher exact test crosstabulations to determine differences between genders.
A total of 388 patients aged 18 to 24 years responded to the survey, with 81% of the sample identifying themselves as students and 64% identifying as female. Women were more likely than men to state that they sought sexual health advice at an urgent-care or walk-in clinic (70.3% vs 52.1%; P<.05). Human papillomavirus knowledge among women was significantly greater than among men (P<.0001). Open-ended responses were widespread and often incorrect, specifically with regard to the human papillomavirus vaccine and routine testing for sexually transmitted infections.
Women were more knowledgeable about sexual health than men. However, both genders were not as knowledgeable overall on sexual health topics as hypothesized. A stronger emphasis on gender-specific programming for sexual health education via community- and school-based programs throughout adolescence, supplemented with greater emphasis on routine preventive health care during adolescence and emerging adulthood, is encouraged.
a Data are given as No. (%) unless otherwise indicated.
a Mantel-Haenszal χ2 test. Statistical significance was set at P<.05.
Abbreviation: STI, sexually transmitted infection.
a Correct answer.
b The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends cytologic testing alone every 3 years for women aged 21 to 29 years. For women aged 30 to 65 years, co-testing with cytologic and human papilloma virus (HPV) testing every 5 years is preferred, and screening with cytologic testing alone every 3 years is acceptable. Some abnormal results require repeated Papanicolaou test in 12 months.
c Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp.
d Sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests are patient-specific, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, which can be accessed at https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/screening-recommendations.htm.
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