A Partner-Related Risk Behavior Index to Identify People at Elevated Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections
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The purpose of this study was to develop and test a sexual-partner-related risk behavior index to identify high-risk individuals most likely to have a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Patients from five STI and adolescent medical clinics in three US cities were recruited (N = 928; Mage = 29.2 years). Data were collected using audio—computer-assisted self-interviewing. Of seven sexual-partner-related variables, those that were significantly associated with the outcomes were combined into a partner-related risk behavior index. The dependent variables were laboratory-confirmed infection with Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and/or Trichomonas vaginalis. Nearly one-fifth of the sample (169/928; 18.4 %) tested positive for an STI. Three of the seven items were significantly associated with having one or more STIs: sex with a newly released prisoner, sex with a person known or suspected of having an STI, and sexual concurrency. In combined form, this three-item index was significantly associated with STI prevalence (p < .001). In the presence of three covariates (gender, race, and age), those classified as being at-risk by the index were 1.8 times more likely than those not classified as such to test positive for an STI (p < .001). Among individuals at risk for STIs, a three-item index predicted testing positive for one or more of three STIs. This index could be used to prioritize and guide intensified clinic-based counseling for high-risk patients of STI and other clinics.