School-Based Condom Education and Its Relations With Diagnoses of and Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections Among Men in the United States
The study's authors note that potential associations between school-based condom education and sexual health outcomes, including STD diagnoses, are not well understood. In the current study, sexually active men over age 18 were asked whether they had been tested for and diagnosed with any of six commonly reported STDs including HIV, and whether they had received condom instruction in a sexual health education class in high school.
Recruitment included advertisements in newspapers, Web sites, and STD/HIV organizations in all 50 states. Among 1,152 participants in the sample, the mean age was 26 years. The men self-identified as white (84 percent), Asian (7 percent), black (2 percent), other (7 percent), and Latino (6 percent). Most (87 percent) reported they were heterosexual, with the remainder identifying as gay, bisexual or other (13 percent); and most were currently in a monogamous relationship (74 percent).
Of the sample, 81 percent reported receiving school-based condom education, while 19 percent said they did not. Men who had received condom instruction were significantly less likely to have ever been diagnosed with five of the six STDs assessed, while being more likely to have been screened. Among three age groups (ages 18-25, 26-35 or 36 and older), the men age 35 and above were more likely to have had an STD and less likely to have been taught in a school setting how to use a condom.
"In this study, we showed that men who received school-based condom education were less likely to have been diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and were more likely to ever have been tested for STIs than were men without such education," concluded the authors. "School-based condom education is associated with less, rather than more, STI risk."