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Sexual consent self-efficacy and sexual health communication for STI/HIV prevention among college students

Edison, Briana (2020) Sexual consent self-efficacy and sexual health communication for STI/HIV prevention among college students. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Background: HIV/sexually transmitted infections and sexual violence victimization are prevalent among college-age young adults. Sexual violence prevention programs on college campuses underline sexual consent, but often overlook sexual health education. Sexual health communication should involve obtaining consent and HIV/STI prevention. This study explored the association between sexual consent self-efficacy and sexual health communication among college students and related sexual behaviors.
Methods: Data were from 2,291 students enrolled in a cluster randomized controlled trial from 28 university campuses from 2015-2017. College students were asked about their self- efficacy to obtain consent for sex, communication about condom use and STI/HIV prevention in the past 4 months, intimate partner violence experiences, and sexual health behaviors.
Results: Females displayed twice the odds of high consent self-efficacy than male students (OR 2.00, CI 95% 1.65-2.41), but were less likely to engage in conversations about HIV prevention (OR 0.59, CI 95% 0.44-0.81) or to use condoms consistently (OR 0.89, CI 95% 0.71-1.11). Odds of consistent condom use and high consent self-efficacy decreased with less communication about sexual health topics. Sexually active students with high consent self-efficacy (N=1114) exhibited over twice the odds of talking about STD prevention if they reported a history of STI diagnosis (OR 2.28, CI 95% 1.50, 3.46). The probability of always using a condom increased with higher consent self-efficacy scores and sexual health communication.
Conclusions: While college students reported self-efficacy to obtain consent, this did not translate to sexual health communication. Women were even less likely to engage in discussion about risk reduction topics, even though communication encourages more healthy sexual behaviors. Sexual violence prevention programs that address the importance of obtaining sexual consent should include education about STI/HIV prevention and strategies promoting sexual health communication.
Public Health Significance: Young adults are burdened with a disproportionate amount of STI and HIV acquisition, but are not receiving effective sexual and reproductive health education. Additionally, they are at a critical age for developing intimate partner relationships and experience high rates of abuse and violence. Thus, further research on how sexual health behaviors and perceptions can be used as STI/HIV prevention should be explored.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairFriedman,
Committee MemberKrier,
Committee MemberMiller,
Date: 29 January 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 9 December 2019
Approval Date: 29 January 2020
Submission Date: 20 November 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 64
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sexual consent, sexual communication, college health
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 17:31
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 17:31


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