The impact of sexual experiences of young minority group members in the United States, and the associated risks of sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission among adults in the United States and China
Garcia, Ginny Elizabeth
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This thesis explores incidence rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among minority group teenagers in the United States and among adults aged 20-34 in the U.S. and in China. The focus is on trends and patterns in the United States compared to those in China. Research questions include whether or not the early onset of sexual activity is directly related to the incidence of STI transmission among Americans. The Chinese analysis enables addressing the question of whether or not a hidden epidemic exists in China with regard to STI transmission rates. The thesis involves three separate analyses including a comparative study of teens (age 15-19) and adults (age 20-44) in the United States, a comparative study of adults aged 20-44 in the United States and China, and a comparative analysis of urine-based results versus self-reported responses among the Chinese adults. The use of logistic regression is employed in order to model the odds of the risk of transmission among the different groups. The results from this thesis indicate that early onset of sexual activity is indeed a risk factor for young minority group members in the United States in terms of the bacterial infections. The analysis of American adults revealed that women who have college educations and who are not minority group members are at risk of contracting viral infections with more frequency. Finally, a hidden epidemic among Chinese women was detected with respect to the bacterial infections. It is important to study these trends within the U.S. and abroad in China for many reasons. First and foremost, young adults are the most heavily impacted in the United States. This population should be focused on as many of the infections discussed may lead to lifelong difficulties (including infertility) if left untreated. Also, with respect to China, a large proportion of those who are infected do not know they are. Again, these infections may lead to many complications and Chinese women are at an increased risk because many are infected unknowingly due to the behavior of their partner/spouse. Finally, sexually transmitted infections amplify the transmission rates of HIV/AIDS and should be studied specifically for this reason if none other.