Using T-ACASI to Improve the Accuracy of Sexually Transmitted Disease Measurements

Maria A. Villarroel, Research Triangle Institute
Charles F. Turner, Research Triangle Institute and City University of New York
Susan M. Rogers, RTI International
Elizabeth Eggleston, Research Triangle Institute

STD cases are well known to be underreported to the health department and in population surveys where survey interviewers ask respondents to report on their STD history. The 1999 2000 National STD and Behavior Measurement Experiment tested the impact of telephone audio computer administered self interviewing (T ACASI) versus standard telephone interview on the reporting of STD history, symptoms, treatment for symptoms, and discussions with sexual partners in probability samples of U.S. and Baltimore adults aged 18-45 (Ns = 1,509 and 729). T-ACASI, a completely private mode of telephone survey administration, increases the likelihood that respondents will acknowledge recent diagnosis of STDs and related symptoms, not seeking treatment, as well as other STD-risk behaviors. If higher estimates represent more accurate reporting, our findings suggest that prevalence estimates derived from interviewer-administered telephone surveys may understate the prevalence of STD history, symptoms, treatment, and partner characteristics by factors of 1.4 to 4.5.

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Presented in Session 18: Sexual Behavior in the U.S.