The STIs of Texas are upon you : reducing stigma associated with Chlamydia among college students
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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are a serious problem throughout the United States, but boast the highest infection rates among urban college students. Specifically, Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI, and one of the easiest to cure. Despite the ease of treatment, individuals avoid seeking testing because of the stigma associated with STIs. The present study aims to decrease this barrier created by stigma through identifying opinion leaders, exposing these opinion leaders to a campaign tailored to decrease stigma, and encouraging the opinion leaders to disseminate the message throughout their social networks. This pre-/post-test study surveyed 97 undergraduate college students on their stigma attitudes. As was hypothesized, participants exposed to messages promoting Chlamydia testing as a social norm held fewer stigma beliefs and negative attitudes about Chlamydia (H1b), and had more positive about testing (H1a). Individuals connected more closely to opinion leaders were more likely to change attitudes (H2), although there were a low number of participants that qualified for this variable. With greater attitude change and connection to social network, individual intent to get tested increased (H3).