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Health Forum Online    The Psychologist's Source for C.E. Credits Online

Promoting Sexual Health Among Young Adults: Getting Past the Stigmas of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

by Risa Yavorsky Fridy, MD 2 CE Credits

Even today, sexual health remains a sensitive, personal, and relatively taboo topic to address, for both patients and health professionals. Not surprisingly, many social stigmas and misinformation have evolved around this topic, perpetuating a climate of confusion and, at times, anxiety. Most importantly, these barriers can impede the effective dissemination of important information regarding "risky" health-related behaviors and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), particularly among sexually active teens and young adults. Health professionals can play a vital role in facilitating communication, suppressing stigmas, disseminating accurate information, and promoting realistic expectations and behaviors regarding sexual health among this at-risk group.  To this end, this course reviews the commonly held beliefs, attitudes and stigmas associated with STIs (e.g., HIV, Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Trichomoniasis) among sexually active youth and their psychosocial sequelae. Ways to demystify and debunk associated myths and replace them with accurate health-related expectations and goals are addressed.


This online course is approved for APA CE credit, NBCC CE clock hours, ASWB Clinical CE clock hours, and NYSED CE credit.


Course Sections/Outline:

  • Introduction
  • Defining Risk
  • Sexual Health Knowledge and Perceived Risk for STIs Among Young Adults
  • Stigma: The Construct
  • Stigma Surrounding Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Promoting STI Testing Among At-Risk Youth: Understanding the Role Stigma Plays
  • Stigma Reduction Strategies
  • Conclusion
  • References

Learning Objectives:

After completing this course, health professionals will be able to:
  • Identify 6 common risk-factors and at-risk groups for 6 prevalent sexual transmitted infections (STIs) with a focus on adolescents and young adults.
  • Define the construct of health-related stigma and describe its deleterious role in the STI context.
  • Identify and apply at least 4 strategies to eliminate STI-related stigma in an effort to promote testing and reduce risk-related behaviors in young adults across the care continuum: at the individual level, in the media, among healthcare professionals, and in healthcare settings.