The contribution of STI-related stigma and the Theory of Planned Behaviour to STI testing among young people in New South Wales, Australia
Reemst, L. van
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STIs (sexually transmissible infections) rates are increasing among young people. In spite of sexual health programs that promote STI testing, the proportion of young people who test for STIs is considered to be too low. This study explores the barriers and facilitators of STI testing among young people in New South Wales, Australia. A total of 533 adolescents and young adults between 16 and 26 years old were mainly recruited online via advertisement on a social networking website and participants were invited to complete an anonymous online survey. The objective of this study was to assess the contribution of STI-related stigma and variables from the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) in explaining intentions to get tested for STIs in young people. It was hypothesized that STI-related stigma would be substantial in young people and would prevent young people to get tested for STIs. The contribution of STI-related stigma to intentions to test for STIs is expected to exist over and above variables from the TPB (attitudes, perceived behavioural control, subjective norms and past behaviour). These hypotheses were partially supported by the results. STI-related stigma was found to be moderate in this sample. In multivariate analysis, intention to test for STIs was negatively associated with STI-related stigma and positively associated with subjective norms and past testing behaviours. Implications and limitations of the study are discussed.