Objectives: The objectives of this study were to assess: (1) ethnic and gender differences in reporting of diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), symptoms related to STDs and sexual behavior and (2) behavioral risk factors for STDs in a probability sample of low income African American and Hispanic youth.
Methods: Data were analyzed from a household probability sample of youth. The study collected data on self reported STDs, symptoms of STDs and sexual behavior. The sample was drawn from households in low income areas of urban Detroit: 1435 African American and Hispanic low income youth age 15-24 living in Detroit were interviewed face to face in 1991.
Results: Patterns of sexual activity as well as experience with STDs differ by ethnicity and gender. Within ethnic groups, women report more symptoms of STDs. Risk factors for diagnosed STDs included age, a young age at first intercourse, numbers of sexual partners, oral intercourse and anal intercourse.
Conclusions: The data underscore the importance of development of effective safer sex intervention programs for these youth as well as careful assessment of STD risks in medical clinics serving these youth.