Publications

Associations between forced sex, sexual and protective practices, and sexually transmitted diseases among a national sample of adolescent girls

Objective. The main objective of this study is to better understand the associations between forced sex history and history of sexually transmitted disease (STD) infection. Three research questions are investigated. Is history of forced sex associated with risk-taking behaviors? Are these risk-taking behaviors associated with history of STD? Is history of forced sex independently associated with history of STD? Methods. Information on the sexual and STD histories is obtained from 3,579 sexually active adolescent girls using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Weighted logistic and OLS regressions are employed, using techniques that account for the complex sampling design. Results. Girls with a history of forced sex are significantly more likely to have a greater number of sexual partners, be younger at first sex, and be more likely to use alcohol or drugs at last sex; there is no difference in condom use at last sex. These factors, in turn, are significantly associated with a positive STD history. Condom use at last sex is negatively associated with ever having had an STD. When all five sexual and protective practices are investigated simultaneously, history of forced sex remains significantly associated with STD history (odds ratio [OR] = 1.39, p =.014); number of sexual partners and early onset of sex remain significant. Condom use and substance use at last sex reduce to marginal significance. Conclusions. These results suggest that a history of forced sex is independently associated with a history of STD among sexually active adolescent girls. Programmatic strategies aimed at reducing STDs through encouraging responsible sexual behavior would potentially benefit from also including a component that addresses sexual victimization.