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Sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infections in a nationally representative sample of women veterans and nonveterans.

Lehavot K, Katon JG, Williams EC, Nelson KM, Gardella CM, Reiber GE, Simpson TL. Sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infections in a nationally representative sample of women veterans and nonveterans. Journal of women's health (2002). 2014 Mar 1; 23(3):246-52.

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BACKGROUND: Women veterans are a growing population with unique characteristics and documented health disparities. Few studies have examined their sexual behaviors and rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and none have compared women veterans to nonveterans to identify potential sexual health disparities. METHODS: We used data from the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative U.S. survey. We compared lifetime sexual history (age at first intercourse, number of partners), sexual activity in the last year, and STIs between women veterans (n = 151) and nonveterans (n = 8738), adjusting for age, race/ethnicity, education, marital status, binge drinking, and survey year. RESULTS: Compared to nonveterans, women veterans reported a younger age at first intercourse and a greater number of female and male lifetime sexual partners, and they were more likely to have ever had sex with a woman. They were also more likely than nonveterans to have genital herpes and genital warts. CONCLUSIONS: Women veterans reported higher rates of sexual activity and STIs than nonveterans. Future research is needed to assess high-risk behaviors and determine what factors may underlie these associations. Providers should ensure thorough screening and intervention services are provided for this growing population.

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