Original Contribution  |   May 2019
Gender Differences in Sexual Health Knowledge Among Emerging Adults in Acute-Care Settings
Author Notes
  • From the Departments of Emergency Medicine (Dr Burrell, Ms Sharon, and Mr Bassler) and Family Medicine at West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine in Morgantown (Dr Burrell) and the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the WVU School of Public Health in Morgantown (Dr Davidov). 
  • Financial Disclosures: None reported. 
  • Support: None reported. 
  •  *Address correspondence to Carmen N. Burrell, DO, 1 Medical Center Dr, Morgantown, WV 26506-9149. Email: cburrell@hsc.wvu.edu
     
Article Information
Obstetrics and Gynecology / Preventive Medicine
Original Contribution   |   May 2019
Gender Differences in Sexual Health Knowledge Among Emerging Adults in Acute-Care Settings
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 2019, Vol. 119, 289-298. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2019.050
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, May 2019, Vol. 119, 289-298. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2019.050
Abstract

Context: Emerging adults (aged 18-25 years) are increasingly seeking evaluation in acute-care clinics for sexual health–related concerns to receive treatment and education.

Objective: To assess the sexual health knowledge of emerging adult patients by gender at acute-care health centers.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusion: 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.

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