Study Objective: To describe the prevalence and correlates of vaginal douching among urban African American adolescents and to examine the association between douching and sexually transmitted infection (STI) status. Design: Demographic, psychosocial, and behavioral data were collected through cross-sectional, self-administered surveys. Self-collected vaginal swabs were assayed using nucleic acid amplification tests for trichomoniasis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Setting: Sexual health clinic in a large metropolitan area of the southeastern United States. Participants: African American females (N = 701), ages 14-20, participating in a human immunodeficiency virus prevention intervention. Main Outcome Measure: The outcome of interest was the association between vaginal douching (lifetime, past 90 days, and past 7 days) with demographic characteristics (eg, age, education, and socioeconomic status), physical and mental health status, STI status, sexual behavior (eg, number of vaginal sexual partners, age of sex partners, consistent condom use in the past 90 days, sex while self/partner was high on drugs or alcohol), and psychosocial characteristics (eg, sexual adventurism, social support, peer norms, sexual satisfaction, self-efficacy for sex refusal, self-esteem, relationship power, risk avoidance). Results: Forty-three percent reported ever douching, and 29% reported douching in the past 90 days. In bivariate analyses, recent douching was associated with demographic, behavioral, and psychosocial variables, but not current STI status. In multivariate analyses, recent douching was associated with age (odds ratio [AOR] = 1.13, confidence interval [CI] = 1.02-1.25), lower socioeconomic status (AOR = 1.25, CI = 1.05-1.47), and having sex with much older partners (AOR = 1.87, CI = 1.22-2.86). Conclusion: Increased age, lower socioeconomic status, and older partners may be salient risk factors for douching behavior among African American young women.
- African American
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Vaginal douching
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Obstetrics and Gynecology