Study objective: To identify young women's pros and cons (decisional balance) to seeking chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhea (NGC) screening.
Design: Prospective, cross sectional study
Setting: Community-based reproductive health clinic
Participants: 192 young women (66% African American; mean age 18.9 years).
Main outcome measures: Content analysis of responses obtained during a decisional balance exercise (pros and cons) promoting CT and NGC screening was conducted. Thematic categories were developed through a coding process, and each response was assigned to one thematic category. The frequency of pros and cons responses for each category and the frequency of participants endorsing each category were calculated.
Results: Ten thematic categories in relation to pros and cons of seeking CT and NGC screening were: being healthy; awareness of the body; systemic factors around the clinic visit and testing procedures; benefits and aversions around treatment; partner trust issues; confidentiality; prevention of long term adverse effects, protection of the body; concern for others; fear of results/aversion to testing; and logistical barriers. The three most often cited pros were awareness of the body, being healthy and treatment issues; and the three most often cited cons were logistical barriers (time/transportation), fear/aversion to testing, and systemic factors.
Conclusions: A variety of pros and cons to seeking CT and NGC screening were identified at a community-based clinic. Providers in clinical settings can utilize this information when encouraging patients to seek regular STI screening by elucidating and emphasizing those pros and cons that have the most influence on a young woman's decision-making to seek screening.