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Background. Since 2004, Douglas County in Nebraska has been experiencing higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) than the rest of the state. Northern Omaha has been considered to be one of the “hot spots” for STIs in the county. In 2011-2012, a focus group study was conducted to investigate the community’s perception of STIs and to identify strategies to increase the testing and treatment of STIs. Methods. Fourteen young adults were recruited to participate in two mixed-gender focus group sessions, each lasting 1.5 hours. Sessions covered various topics on STIs. Audio-recorded sessions were transcribed and analyzed by the study team. Results. Participants were aware of the STI problem in their community. They identified risk factors for STIs included careless sexual behavior, unprotected sex, and lack of communication with parents. Participants believed that the club environment and drug and alcohol use contribute to risky sexual behavior. Participants perceived lack of confidentiality as the most important barrier to getting tested. The most important reason for not seeking treatment was lack of awareness about the signs of infection. Participants called for measures to increase trustworthy relationships with the health care system and suggested opening more testing and treatment sites. Discussion. The uniqueness of our study is that it is the first conducted epidemiological study in this population to better understand risk factors of STIs specific to this population. The study identified several important factors that may assist in future interventions to reduce STIs in this population.
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Islam, K. M. M.; Vinson, Laura C.; Nared, Sherri; Combs, Ira; Tibbits, Melissa; Watanabe-Galloway, Shinobu; and Margalit, Ruth, "Combating STI Epidemic: Community Perspectives Learned from Mixed-Gender Focus Group Study" (2013). Journal Articles: Epidemiology. 159.