Study calls into question the validity of young adults' self reported abstinence in sexual health studies

posted 10 Feb 2011, 16:38 by Damian Wood   [ updated 13 Oct 2012, 11:07 ]
DiClemente et al Association Between Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Young Adults' Self-reported Abstinence Pediatrics 2011;127:208-213

A study published in this month's Pediatrics calls into question the validity of self reported abstinence in sexual health studies. The researchers found that 1 in 10 young adults (mean age 21.9yrs) found to have an STI on screening in a National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health reported sexual abstinence in the 12 months before screening. It is not clear who these findings are transferrable outside of the study population and in particular to the UK where there is a National Chlamydia Screening Programme. The authors conclude that other objective and quantifiable nondisease biological markers are needed to more precisely gauge young adults' sexual behavior as well as corroborate their self-report of sexual behaviors. From a clinical perspective they suggest all young people receiving clinical services are tested for STIs whether they are recently sexually active or not.