Kelleher, Caroline, Smith, Gemma, Boduszek, Daniel, Bourke, Ashling and Morgan, Karen (2013) Factors associated with STI/HIV testing in Ireland: Findings from two nationally representative surveys. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society. ISSN 1754-8837

Background: Notifiable STI rates are increasing. Research has identified risky sexual behaviours as the most significant predictor of attendance for sexually transmitted infections (STI) screening. There are no similar data on predictors of attendance for STI/HIV testing in Ireland. We aim to identify socio-demographic characteristics and the sexual health history of Irish people who have ever had an STI/HIV test.
Methods: Data were from two nationally representative sexual health surveys, carried out in Ireland in 2006 and 2010. Adults aged 18 to 45 years who had ever had sexual intercourse were included (N=7348). Descriptive analyses and a binary logistic regression investigated the socio-demographic characteristics and sexual health history of respondents with a history of STI/HIV testing compared to those without this history.
Findings: 25 per cent (N=1831) of respondents reported a history of a STI/HIV test. Increased likelihood of testing was associated with: being female (OR=1.51, 95 per cent CI 1.34–1.70); being homosexual/lesbian (OR=3.71, 95 per cent CI 1.47–9.37) or bisexual (OR=2.21, 95 per cent CI 1.43–3.42); younger age at the time of first heterosexual experience (OR=1.71, 95 per cent CI 1.48–1.97)); and not using contraception on this occasion (OR=1.29, 95 per cent CI 1.11–1.49).
Discussion: Increased STI/HIV testing in certain demographic groups may reflect more health conscious health seeking behaviour or increased risk behaviour. Attention needs to be paid to the context of first sex (age and contraception use) in both the policy and service delivery arenas.

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