Background In primary care settings it can be difficult to identify which women would benefit from contraceptive advice and supply (CAS) and sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing without asking sensitive questions about sexual behaviour. Psychosocial and socio-demographic questions may offer an acceptable alternative.
Aim To identify psychosocial and socio-demographic factors associated with reporting key sexual risk behaviours among women aged 16–44 years in the British general population.
Methods We analysed data from 4,911 heterosexually-active women aged 16–44 years, who participated in Natsal-3, undertaken 2010–2012. Using multivariable regression we explored associations between the available psychosocial and socio-demographic variables and reporting of 3 key sexual behaviours indicative of clinical need: 2+ partners in the last year (2PP); non-use of condoms with 2+ partners in the last year (2PPNC); non-use of condoms at first sex with most recent partner (FSNC).
Results After adjustment, weekly binge drinking (6+ units on one occasion), early sexual debut (<16 years), younger age and renting (rather than owning) a home, remained associated with 2PP, 2PPNC and FSNC. Sexual identity and partner ethnicity were not associated with any of these behaviours. Current relationship status and reporting drug use (ever) were associated with 2PP and 2PPNC but not with FSNC.
Discussion These analyses indicate psychosocial factors and socio-demographic factors may be useful in targeting CAS and STI testing. A large cross-sectional survey is now underway determine the extent of sexual risk explained by these factors among women presenting in primary care and their acceptability in those settings.
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