Stigma, sexually transmitted infections and attendance at the GUM Clinic: an exploratory study with implications for the theory of planned behaviour

J Health Psychol. 2007 Jan;12(1):17-31. doi: 10.1177/1359105306069098.


A gap in the literature regarding understanding of people's health care seeking behaviours in relation to sexually transmitted infections is identified. Employing both deductive and inductive methods, 10 patients (five female, five male) were interviewed to explore the psychosocial, motivational and attitudinal factors associated with attendance at a Genito-Urinary Medicine (GUM) clinic in a close-knit community in the north of England. Seven stigma-related themes were identified as salient issues surrounding perceptions of sexual health screening and included: (1)prejudice surrounding STIs; (2)fear of exposure; (3)isolation; (4)reluctance to attend; (5)contamination; (6)relationship issues; and (7)perceived invulnerability. Within these themes distinct gender differences were identified. Implications for the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) are discussed against the factors identified.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Prejudice*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • State Medicine
  • United Kingdom
  • Venereology