Hispanic/Latino College Students' Knowledge of Common Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Monday, July 11, 2011: 4:05 PM

Sande Gracia Jones, PhD, ARNP, ACRN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Carol A. Patsdaughter, PhD, RN, ACRN, CNE
Katherine Chadwell, DNP, ARNP-BC, CPHQ
College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL

Learning Objective 1: Discuss the prevalence and impact of STDs in the Hispanic community.

Learning Objective 2: Discuss the findings of a survey exploring Hispanic college students' knowledge of STDs.

Purpose: Rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain high for Hispanics/Latinos in the USA (CDC, 2010).  Hispanic college students may be at risk for STDs, but little is known about students’ knowledge of common STDs in relation to early symptoms, treatment, and vaccines.  As part of a larger study of substance abuse and HIV/STDs using the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF), a survey was conducted at a Hispanic-serving university to determine students’ knowledge of 6 common STDs. Study funding was through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention’s Minority Education Institutions (MEI) initiative.

Methods:  After IRB approval, students were recruited at various sites on campus. Students who completed the survey received an incentive ($5 gift card). Instrument: Jaworski and Carey’s (2007) 27-item STD Knowledge Questionnaire (STD-KQ).

Results: The STD-KQ was completed by 546 students.  A majority of students were Hispanic, male, and between the ages of 18-24.  Less than half of the students knew that there was a cure for gonorrhea, less than half knew that there was a cure for Chlamydia, and only 53% knew that there was a vaccine for Hepatitis B.  Less than 30% of the students (n=543) knew that it was easier to get HIV in the presence of another STD.  Only 74% (n=542) knew that the same virus does not cause all STDs, and only 68% (n=547) knew that washing their genitals after sex did not protect men against genital warts.  Less than half of the students knew that a man could not tell if they had Hepatitis B by the way their body felt.

Conclusion: Students’ lack of knowledge of common STDs demonstrates the need for intensive campus-based STD education.  In particular, students need to be informed about early symptoms, treatment, and vaccine options for common STDs.