Date of Conferral
Millions of dollars are spent each year on preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), yet the rates of chlamydia trachomatis (chlamydia) and neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonorrhea) infection continue to be high. Health literacy and its impact have been recognized in diabetes maintenance, control of hypertension, medical adherence, and reproductive health outcomes, yet no research has been conducted regarding the relationship between health literacy and chlamydia and gonorrhea prevalence. This study examined the relationship between health literacy scores and chlamydia and gonorrhea prevalence health literacy scores and reproductive health/STD knowledge, and reproductive health/STD knowledge and chlamydia and gonorrhea prevalence. Participants included 114 women over 18 years of age, who attended community health clinics in the northeastern United States. Health literacy was measured using the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine instrument, and reproductive health/STD knowledge was assessed using a self-administered questionnaire. Data analysis revealed an inverse correlation between lower health literacy scores and an increase in gonorrhea and combined chlamydia/gonorrhea prevalence. Findings also revealed a positive correlation between health literacy scores and reproductive health/STD knowledge scores. The results of this study suggest that service providers should consider the use of health literacy level with targeted reproductive health and STD messages as a tool to empower clients, decrease the prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea, and increase positive reproductive health outcomes.