Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Residents in Nursing Homes: The Nurses' Perspective

Lauren N. Maziarz, Nikki Sorgi, Nicole Fischer


Background: Examining registered nurses' perceptions of sexually transmitted disease (STD) education among residents in nursing homes allows for broader insight into why STDs continue to increase among older adults.

Methods: A 4-page pilot survey was mailed to nursing home directors of nursing in Northwest Ohio (n=99) with a response rate of 32%. Directors of nursing were the target population as they are the most likely employee to hold registered nurse licensure. The health belief model formed the basis for the survey.

Results: Most nurses did not see STDs or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as problems among their residents (100% and 96%, respectively) yet support for sex among residents was high. All (100%) agreed sex among married residents should be supported, while 77% agreed sex among nonmarried residents should be supported. Most nurses stated they were comfortable discussing HIV risk (84%), STD risk (84%), erectile dysfunction (75%), sexual desire and intimacy (72%), and correct condom use (66%). The most commonly reported perceived barriers to STD education were family opposition (63%), resident embarrassment (56%), and lack of education regarding the prevalence of STDs in older adults (53%). The most commonly reported perceived benefits to STD education were being seen as a leading facility for healthy initiatives (66%) and promotion of healthy sexual relationships among residents (56%).

Conclusion: There was strong support for STD education among nurses though implementation remains rare. Addressing the most commonly perceived barriers and benefits may prove beneficial in increasing the number of LTCFs that provide STD education to residents.


Sexually transmitted disease education; STDs; Nursing homes; Nurses' perceptions

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ISSN: 2578-6180