Sexual behaviour, sexually transmitted infections and attitudes to chlamydia testing among a unique national sample of young Australians: Baseline data from a randomised controlled trial

Publication Type:
Journal Article
BMC Public Health, 2014, 14 (1)
Issue Date:
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Background: Chlamydia infection is the most common notifiable sexually transmitted infection (STI) in Australia and mostly affects young people (15 - 25 years). This paper presents baseline data from a randomised controlled trial that aimed to increase chlamydia testing among sexually active young people. The objectives were to identify associations between sexual behaviour, substance use and STI history and explore attitudes to chlamydia testing. Methods: This study was conducted in cyberspace. Study recruitment, allocation, delivery of interventions and baseline and follow up data collection all took place online. Participants were 16 - 25 years old and resided in Australia. Substance use correlates of sexual activity; predictors of history of STIs; barriers to and facilitators of chlamydia testing were analysed. Results: Of 856 participants (79.1% female), 704 had experienced penetrative intercourse. Sexually active participants were more likely to smoke regularly or daily, to drink alcohol, or to have binge drunk or used marijuana or other illicit substances recently. Risk factors for having a history of any STI were 3 or more sexual partners ever, 6 or more partners in the past 12 months, condom non-use and being 20 years or older. Almost all sexually active participants said that they would have a chlamydia test if their doctor recommended it. Conclusions: Sexually active young people are at risk of STIs and may engage in substance use risk behaviours. Where one health risk behaviour is identified, it is important to seek information about others. Chlamydia testing can be facilitated by doctors and nurses recommending it. Primary care providers have a useful role in chlamydia control. © 2014 Kang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
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