LGBTQ+ Young Adults and Likelihood of Receiving Hypothetical Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Vaccines

Date

2023

Authors

Lemuz, Tiffany
Johnson, Kaeli
Kinard, Ashlyn
Terrillion, Ryan
Kline, Nolan
Griner, Stacey

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Abstract

Background

Sexual and gender minority (SGM) young adults (those identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual, and/or non-binary; often known as LGBTQ+) face a number of health disparities and are among the most at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Candidate vaccines against chlamydia and gonorrhea are under development, but an understanding of the likelihood of receiving future vaccines among SGM young adults is vital to promote uptake among these populations. Prior research of STI vaccine acceptability and likelihood, such as that of the human papillomavirus vaccine series, has shown healthcare provider recommendation to be a strong driver of uptake among the general population. The likelihood of the SGM young adult population receiving potential chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccines, however, has yet to be explored. The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the likelihood of SGM young adults receiving future chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccines.

Methods

Sexually active young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 were recruited to participate in an online survey. Here, we present a sub-analysis of the SGM young adults (n=14) who completed the survey. Items included likelihood of receiving a hypothetical: chlamydia vaccine, chlamydia vaccine if it was recommended by a physician, gonorrhea vaccine, and gonorrhea vaccine if it was recommended by a physician (response options: not very likely to extremely likely, five-point scale). Univariate analyses were conducted using SPSS.

Results

Participants included 12 individuals identifying as gender non-conforming and 2 identifying as transgender, with mean age of 20.9 years. Only 21% (n=3) of participants were extremely likely to be vaccinated for gonorrhea, and this increased to 36% (n=5) when the vaccine was recommended by a healthcare provider. Similarly, only 21% (n=3) of participants were extremely likely to be vaccinated for chlamydia, which also increased with a recommendation from a healthcare provider to 43% (n=6).

Conclusion

Results indicate low likelihood of receiving both chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccines among this small sample of SGM young adults. Likelihood of receiving both chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccines increased, however, with provider recommendation, indicating a reliance upon healthcare providers to aid in informed decision making regarding STI vaccines among this vulnerable population. Educating clinicians on the disparities as well as the tailored needs of SGM young adults surrounding chlamydia and gonorrhea infection rates and vaccination should facilitate provider recommendation and subsequently increase likelihood of chlamydia and gonorrhea vaccine uptake among SGM young adults. Additionally, to address overall low likelihood, further interventions, such as inclusive messaging targeted to SGM young adults may be necessary. Future studies would benefit from further exploration of this topic with larger samples, comparisons to cisgender and heterosexual young adults, and identification of additional potential barriers to STI vaccine acceptability among this population.

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