Cross Cultural Differences and Sexual Risk taking Behavior of Emerging Adults

Purpose: This study examined population-specific risk factors that increase emerging adults’ risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Design and Method: A cross-sectional sample of 335 diverse, emerging adults ages 18 to 24 years was recruited from a health center at a large university in the Southeastern United States. The mean age was 20.6 ± 1.9 years, majority were females (74.0%), and 61.0% were Hispanic.

Results: Findings revealed inconsistent condom use, reasons for not using condoms, and a need for more culturally-specific intervention strategies.

Discussion and Conclusions: Healthcare providers should identify culturally-specific reasons for inconsistent condom use, examine cultural and geographic differences in sexual risk behaviors among groups and communities, and modify communication, educational programs, and interventions accordingly.

Implications for Practice: By adopting a multi-cultural approach to the control of STIs, nurses can address specific cultural attitudes and behaviors that may influence exposure to STIs, including HPV.