A Unique Kit for Prevention of STIs and Pregnancy during Deployment


Name: Victoria von Sadovszky


Organization: Ohio State University

Performance Site: Luke Air Force Base, Phoenix, AZ, Fort Bragg, Fayettesville, NC, Naval Station, San Diego, CA

Year Published: 2002

Abstract Status: Initial


A single sexual encounter can have devastating and lifelong effects for women. Two such consequences are sexually transmitted infections (STI) and/or unintended pregnancies (UP), both of which can cause physical, emotional, social and fiscal burdens. Prevention among deployed military women poses unique challenges. Women are a minority in this male-dominated, hierarchical organization. During deployment, women's risk for STI and UP is compounded by lack of access to confidential care and contraceptive devices that also protect against STIs. The purpose of this study is to develop a prevention kit for military women to take with them during deployments. Three specific aims will lead to systematic development of this theory and research-based Sexual Awareness Kit ("SAK"). Specific Aim #1 is to conduct a large-scale survey of Air Force, Army and Navy women to determine the type, quality and usefulness of previous STI and UP prevention information, the types of information and products that military women would like to have, and current levels of sexual risk behaviors. Specific Aim #2 is to develop a field-expedient prototype of the "SAK" by selecting the content from the underlying theoretical framework and women's responses from the surveys. We will apply criteria and recommendations for development of health information booklets from marketing experts and lessons learned from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Specific Aim #3 is to determine the content validity, feasibility, evaluation and endorsement of the SAK among the stakeholders who include: a) military women who are likely to be deployed, and b) women's health care nurses and practitioners; and individuals who make decisions about the type of equipment that may be taken on deployment, specifically: c) military unit commanders, and d) military health care decision-makers. These findings will be used for future field-testing of the SAK.