College Students' Preferences for Sexually Transmitted Infection Information: A Qualitative Study

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


PURPOSE: College students experience a high burden of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) but have very low rates of STI testing. STI testing is crucial for diagnoses, treatments, and consequent reduction in STI transmission. Currently, STI testing occurs mainly due to healthcare professionals’ recommendation. However, this is insufficient because college students do not routinely visit clinical settings, and healthcare professionals report biases that restrict the recommendation of STI testing. There is growing knowledge on the need to facilitate self-initiation (i.e., testing without an immediate recommendation from a healthcare professional) of STI testing among college students. A significant aspect of self-initiated testing is the access and utilization of STI testing information. The purpose of this study was to identify the preferences of college students for receiving STI testing information.

DESIGN/METHODS: A qualitative study using individual in-depth interviews was conducted with 35 college students aged 18 to 24 years in Central Pennsylvania. Semi-structured interview questions explored participants’ preferences for information on STI testing, including the method of dissemination, format, content, and frequency. Data were analyzed using a conventional approach to qualitative content analysis.

RESULTS/EXPECTED RESULTS: Findings from this study indicated that participants do not receive sufficient information on STI testing. An email was the most preferred way to receive STI testing information among college students. Subsequent themes that emerged described participants’ preferences for information on testing sites, times and availability of testing services, cost and acceptable forms of payments, and compelling statistics on STIs.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: The high incidence of STIs among college students is an indication of the need to increase efforts in diagnoses and treatments that consequently reduce transmission. This study is significant for research targeting the development and evaluation of low-cost interventions to improve the uptake of STI testing among college students. Recommendations for clinical practice and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Apr 9 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'College Students' Preferences for Sexually Transmitted Infection Information: A Qualitative Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this