Introduction Despite the evolution in STI prevention strategies, US racial and ethnic minority populations continue to share a disproportionate burden of disease. Race and ethnicity are frequently correlated with other determinants of health status such as poverty, income inequality, unemployment, and educational attainment. However, differences among race groups in prevalence of STI for levels of lifestyle have not been evaluated for the US military, where these determents of health may be less influential. We analysed data from the 2008 Survey of Health-Related Behaviours (SHRB) among US military personnel to determine racial differences in STI rates and associations with other lifestyle risks behaviours.
Methods Our analysis of the 2008 SHRB included data from 28,546 US military personnel. STIs were dichotomized as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if self-report as ‘ever’ or ‘in the last 12 months’. Demographic variables, regular exercise, tobacco use, alcohol use, other lifestyle variables were considered. Weighted binary logistic regression model, and Bonferroni adjustment for pairwise comparison were used.
Results Significant differences were found in proportions of reporting STI in African American (24%) Hispanic (12%) White (10%) and other (9%) racial groups within the military.
For males, higher significant STI prevalence rates were found in blacks versus any of other 3 race groups separately for each level of regular exercise, tobacco use and alcohol use respectively. However, similar results were not applicable to females.
Conclusion Despite universal access to healthcare, standardised income and required educational attainment, differences in STI rates by ethnicity were maintained among those in military service. In addition, STI risk in some racial groups was higher at all levels of other lifestyle risks suggesting that risk taking behaviour beyond STI risk is variable by ethnicity. Population health programs target to risk reduction should address ethnicity beyond the historical confounders of income, educational attainment, and educational attainment.
Disclosure of Interest Statement: The content of this publication is the sole responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views, assertions, opinions or policies of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS ), the Department of Defense (DoD), or the Departments of the Army, Navy, or Air Force. Mention of trade names, commercial products, or organisations does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government