Talking to Partners About STDs Often Awkward: Survey11/06/13
WEDNESDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Many people find it
difficult to talk with their partners about sexually transmitted
diseases, and public health campaigns need to find better ways to
promote these types of conversations, according to a new study.
The study included 181 sexually active men and women with an
average age of 26, who completed an anonymous online
Just more than half of participants said they felt "very
comfortable" talking to their partners about how to prevent STDs.
Less than half felt "very comfortable" talking with a partner about
Comfort levels rose and conversations grew easier when people
felt better informed about STDs and had practice talking about them
with their partners.
"Take time to get informed. It will only make your conversation more comfortable and ensure that you are really protecting your health," study lead researcher Margo Mullinax, of Indiana University, said in a university news release.
Mullinax said she was surprised to discover, however, that about
the same percentage of study participants had sex without a condom
regardless of whether they talked with their partners about
"Participants who reported talking to their partners about [STDs] say it affected their decision to engage in certain behaviors in that it made them feel more comfortable and led them to stop using condoms," Mullinax said. "But this finding concerns me, given that many participants did not also report routinely getting tested nor having detailed conversations with partners about [STDs]."
Among the other findings were the following:
- Many people said they occasionally, rarely or never got tested
before having sex with casual partners (50 percent) or long-term
partners (39 percent).
- Of the people who did discuss STD testing, very few discussed
concurrent sexual partners or when partners' testing occurred in
relation to their last sex act. Only half explained what types of
STDs their partner had been tested for. These issues are important
components of assessing STD risk, the researchers said.
- About one-third of participants reported telling a partner they
didn't have an STD even though they hadn't been tested since their
last sexual partner.
The study was scheduled for presentation Wednesday at the
American Public Health Association's annual meeting in Boston. The
data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until
published in a peer-reviewed journal.
"Talking to partners about [STDs] is an important conversation to have," Mullinax said. "However, findings from this study suggest public health campaigns need to promote specific messages, concrete tips and tools around sexual health conversations stratified by relationship status. Campaigns should also address [STD] stigma and promote messages of normalcy with regard to talking about [STDs]."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
Copyright © 2013
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.