Understanding the Effects of Forced Sex on Sexually Transmitted Disease Acquisition and Sexually Transmitted Disease Care: Findings From the National Survey of Family Growth (2011–2013)

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Although there is evidence for heightened sexually transmitted disease (STD) acquisition among women who experienced sexual violence, little is known about their patterns of STD testing, STD diagnosis, and STD treatment.


Data was drawn from cycle eight of the National Survey of Family Growth (2011–2013). Logistic regression analyses used SUDAAN to examine the link between forced sex and risky sexual behavior as well as forced sex and STD testing, diagnoses, treatment, and connection to care.


Women who experienced forced sex were more likely to have risky sex (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.56; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.08–2.24), risky partners (AOR, 1.90; 95% CI, 1.11–3.23), and report substance abuse (AOR, 1.80; 95% CI, 1.28–2.53) than women who never experienced forced sex. Women who reported forced sex were more likely to be tested for an STD (AOR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.34–2.09), and be diagnosed with herpes (AOR, 1.94; 95% CI, 1.13–3.32), genital warts (AOR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.90–3.41), and chlamydia (AOR, 1.83; 95% CI, 1.03–3.25) than those who have never had forced sex. Results indicated a direct relationship between particular STD diagnoses and treatment in the past 12 months (AOR, 6.81; 95% CI, 4.50–10.31). Further analyses indicate that forced sex moderated the link between STD diagnoses and STD treatment (AOR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.19–0.98).


Results indicate that women who reported experiencing forced sex were more likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia, herpes, and genital warts than women who never had forced sex. There may be a need to pay particular attention to women who experienced forced sex and a history of STDs to ensure that they are retained in care.

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