The six-question survey called “pop quiz” has been designed to evaluate behaviours linked to STI risk.
The questions ask about the number of sex partners, the frequency of use of condoms, and the age and past infection status of a respondent.
A description of the quiz and some field test results, published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, suggests the self-administered quiz may encourage teenage girls and young women to get laboratory tests for several STIs if their quiz results show them to be at high risk for infection.
And if used in clinical settings, the online questions could help physicians assess the need for STI testing of those patients at most risk, the researchers said.
“We test a lot of people who are not infected, and although a tool like this might not predict every single case, we think it can be helpful in rapidly predicting the likelihood of an STI for physicians and patients,” said lead author Charlotte Gaydos, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Maryland, US.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins developed the quiz with the help of specialists in adolescent sexual health care and data from previously published research.
For the new study, 830 females and 550 males averaging between 20 to 24 years old took the quiz.
While the “pop quiz” accurately predicted STI status in women, it did not do so for men.
“We are not quite sure why this is, but untruthfulness or the fact that men tend to have lower rates of STIs are possibilities,” Gaydos noted.