An equally important issue is how individuals behave once they are infected.
In this article, we use a population-based data set to examine the effects of individual characteristics on the likelihood that an adult male will engage in a particular type of behavior and, secondly, that he will modify his risk-related behavior once he has learned that he has an STD.
We assume that individual characteristics that affect sexual and health care behavior in general—age, race or ethnicity, marital status, affiliation with an organized religion, socioeconomic status, and age and contraceptive use at first intercourse—also affect behavior subsequent to an STD infection.
On the other hand, a more conservative sexual ideology might stigmatize STDs and consequently suppress both the use of condoms and the use of STD-related clinical services following infection. Reiss, An End to Shame: Shaping Our Next Sexual Revolution, Prometheus Books, Buffalo, 1990.
There is little reason to expect that blacks will modify their sexual behavior any more than members of other racial groups do after receiving an STD diagnosis.
However, minority populations are characterized by poor health education, poor health care-seeking behavior, and poor access to diagnostic and therapeutic health services; for example, the use of organized medical and STD clinic services is lower among blacks and Hispanics than among whites.
However, among those who do seek treatment, we might expect religious affiliation to lead to better compliance with medical advice and to increased preventive behavior; such an influence may mitigate the overall effect of religious behavior on preventive behavior.
In general, as socioeconomic status increases, so does the likelihood of having multiple partners and engaging in a variety of sexual behavior with those partners. Men, 1991," Family Planning Perspectives, -66, 1993.