The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 34, Issue 1–2, pp 81–87

A Partner-Related Risk Behavior Index to Identify People at Elevated Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections

Original Paper


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.


Condoms Men Women Sexually transmitted diseases Sexual Behavior 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Public HealthUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Rural Cancer Prevention CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and ReproductionBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Division of Adolescent/Young Adult MedicineChildren’s Hospital BostonBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PediatricsHarvard Medical SchoolWalthamUSA

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