Age specific evaluation of sexual behavior, STI knowledge and infection among asymptomatic adolescents and young adults.J Infect Public Health. 2020 Aug; 13(8):1112-1117.JI
Adolescents and young adults account for 50% of new infections with sexually transmitted infection (STI), while representing only 25% of the sexually active population. An evaluation of sexual behavior, STI knowledge and infection among youth of different age groups is relevant to formulate effective sexual health strategies.
In this monocentric, open, prospective cross-sectional study, 268 asymptomatic subjects (14-30 years) were partitioned into three cohorts I: 14-19 (n=42), II: 20-25 (n=147) and III: 25-30 (n=79) years. A comparative analysis of their sexual behavior and STI knowledge was performed using a 21-item questionnaire at the WIR-Center for Sexual Health and Medicine. Prevalence of chlamydia and gonococcal infections were tested, using the Cepheid Xpert® CT/NG assay.
The three age-specific cohorts showed statistically significant differences in their relationship status, their sexual contacts and the number of life-time sexual partners. Independent of age, men who have sex with men had greater number of sexual partners across all age groups. Although >95% of participants were aware of HIV in all age groups, the corresponding awareness of non-HIV STI was consistently lower in cohort I. The awareness of trichomonas, mycoplasma and candida in particular was <50% across all agedemographies. Chlamydia screening remains poor despite current chlamydia infection among cohort I, II & III being 7.1%, 5.4%, & 11.4% respectively.
Our study demonstrates a demographic divide in the knowledge on most frequent STI apart from HIV. Current education, screening and vaccination programs for STI among the younger demographic should be improved.