A feminist exploration of women's experiences of having a sexually transmitted infection

Leah East, Kathleen Peters, Louise O'Brien, Debra Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) affect millions of people worldwide and are capable of causing significant physical and psychological harm to individuals and communities. Although STIs can affect any sexually active individual they have more severe consequences for women compared to men, and are capable of causing infant death, infertility, and reproductive cancer. Despite the increasing prevalence of STIs, issues associated with the mental health consequences of these infections remain largely unexplored. However the negative impact on self-esteem and the stigma associated with STIs have been identified as important factors affecting the psychological wellbeing of individuals. This study aims to explore women's experiences and perceptions of having an STI from a feminist perspective. This paper will present initial findings. Methodology: This study utilised a feminist methodology. Data was obtained through qualitative open-ended interviews with the women participants either in person or online and all data was subjected to feminist narrative analysis. Results and conclusion: Data collection and analysis is in progress at the time of abstract submission. It is anticipated that preliminary results will be presented at this sexual health conference. Initial analysis has revealed that stigma, condom negotiation, self-blame, and acceptance/empowerment are major themes within the women participants' stories. This research will contribute to the existing body of literature and provide information to facilitate appropriate care provided by healthcare personnel through gaining insights and understanding into the needs of these women.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-309
Number of pages1
JournalSexual Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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