Research Article| Volume 64, ISSUE 3, P393-404, March 2023

Sexually Transmitted Infections in Women of Reproductive Age by Disability Type

Published:December 16, 2022DOI:


      The objectives of this study were to estimate the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections in women of reproductive age by disability type and examine the association between disability types, participant characteristics, and the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


      Pooled data from 2015 to 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health were analyzed in 2022. The analytic sample included 90,233 women of reproductive age (18–49 years). Disability was defined as having any sensory, cognitive, physical, or ≥2 disabilities.. A total of 15% of women reported having a disability. Descriptive analyses were used to estimate the prevalence of STI, and logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine the association of disability type and other participant characteristics with the odds of having STIs.


      The prevalence of STIs was more than twice as high for women of reproductive age with cognitive disabilities (6.8%) or ≥2 disabilities (6.7%) as for those without disabilities (2.7%). Women with sensory disabilities (AOR=1.47; 95% CI=1.17, 1.85), cognitive disabilities (AOR=1.89; 95% CI=1.65, 2.17), or ≥2 disabilities (AOR=1.78; 95% CI=1.49, 2.14) had greater odds of STIs than those without disabilities. Bisexual women had higher odds (AOR=1.31; 95% CI=1.14, 1.50) of STIs than straight women, whereas lesbian/gay women had lower odds (AOR=0.41; 95% CI=0.27, 0.63). The odds of STIs were higher among non-Hispanic Blacks (AOR=1.42; 95% CI=1.24, 1.63) and lower among Asian women (AOR=0.62; 95% CI=0.43, 0.90) than among non-Hispanic Whites. The odds of STIs were also greater among participants having any alcohol, cannabis, or illicit drug use.


      Women of reproductive age with disabilities have a higher prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. In addition to disability type, the odds of sexually transmitted infections varied by race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and substance use.
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