Perceptions of Sexually Transmitted Infections in Select Youth and Young Adult African Newcomers in Regina, Saskatchewan
This study explores and describes perceptions of African youth and young adult newcomer populations living in Regina, Saskatchewan respecting sexually transmitted infections. Using qualitative methodology, specifically interpretive description, the researcher conducted one-to-one interviews with eight young adult African newcomers. Each interview session lasted between 30 and 45 minutes. The researcher used open-ended questions with associated prompts. Interpretive description captures patterns and themes within the participants’ subjective perceptions and experiences. This strategy generates knowledge and findings with practical implications. Key findings revealed that knowledge deficit is a major problem. Participants displayed some knowledge or different understandings of sexually transmitted infections including how people can contract them. Knowledge levels differed depending on education, with individuals exposed to information from various resources. Youth living in urban areas had more knowledge because they are exposed to different resources (i.e., social media, reading materials, information at the health centres, televisions). Those participants with higher education showed higher perceptions of risks related to sexually transmitted infections. However, this high-risk perception did not significantly influence or motivate the individuals to change their behaviours. Knowledge was affected by fear, isolation, taboo, ignorance, embarrassment, fear, misconception, and shame. Other findings include perceived barriers, such as lack of condom use, distrust, lack of awareness, fear of isolation/ labels/social stigma, and discrimination. Some participants discussed youth risk behaviours, such as inconsistency or low condom use related to peer pressure, alcohol intoxication, or cultural norm influences. They described how families are more concerned about preventing pregnancy than sexually transmitted infections. Lack of knowledge about sexually transmitted infections and associated risksinfections made it challenging to associate with risky behaviours. Other findings related to religion, cultural influences, and misconceptions. The study found that many newcomers delay seeking healthcare services, which may link to perceived barriers, information/knowledge gaps, detection, treatment, and lack of information regarding sexually transmitted infection related programs and services. Youth newcomers face many challenges. There are no known studies about sexually transmitted infections in youth and newcomers in Saskatchewan; hence, lack of evidence may result in culturally inappropriate programs leading to underrepresentation of newcomer youth in uptake and utilization of services.
Sexually transmitted infections, young adults, newcomers, immigrants, STI perception.
Master of Nursing (M.N.)