Socioeconomic Status, Socioeconomic Context and Sexually Transmitted Infections


Harling, Guy Duncan (2013). Socioeconomic Status, Socioeconomic Context and Sexually Transmitted Infections.


Background: There is considerable evidence of racial/ethnic patterning of sexually transmitted infection (STI) risk in the United States. There is also evidence that poorer persons are at increased STI risk. Evidence regarding the interaction of race/ethnicity and income is limited, particularly nationally at the individual level. Methods: We examined the pattern of socioeconomic gradients in STI infection amongst young people in a nationwide US study, and determined how these gradients varied by race/ethnicity. We estimated the cumulative diagnosis prevalence of Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea or Trichomoniasis (via self-report or laboratory confirmation) for young adults (ages 8-26) Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites, Blacks, and Others across income quintiles in the Add Health dataset. We ran regression models to evaluate these relationships adjusting for individual- and school-level covariates. Results: STI diagnosis was independently associated with both racial/ethnic identity and with low income, although the racial/ethnic disparities were much larger than income-based ones. A negative gradient of STI risk with increasing income was present within all racial/ethnic categories, but was stronger for non-Whites. Conclusions: Both economic and racial/ethnic factors should be considered in deciding how to target STI prevention efforts in the United States. Particular focus may be warranted for poor, racial/ethnic minority women.


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Harling, Guy Duncan

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Harvard University

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