Objectives: To assess the feasibility and generalizability of STD clinic samples for studying STD-related knowledge, attitudes, andbehaviors (KAB), and healthcare preferences among individuals at high risk for STDs in the same community.
Study design: An STD clinic and a community sample were selected from each of two urban areas in New York State. At each STD clinic, 100 individuals were interviewed. In each community, about 400 individuals were selected by random-digit-dialing telephone survey during the same period. Community sample participants were defined as having high-risk profiles on the basis of five items related to their sexual behaviors.
Results: The STD clinic samples were younger and had a larger proportion of men and nonwhite people compared with the high-risk community samples. Although the majority of STD clinic clients would seek healthcare at the STD clinics, high-risk community participants were more likely to prefer private doctors for STDs care (P < .0001 for both areas). Overall STD-related KAB were similar between STD clinic and high-risk community samples; however, STD clinic clients may be more knowledgeable about specific STDs and more likely to feel embarrassment about getting an STD. The findings comparing KAB between high-risk community subjects and STD clinic attendees also varied by geographic location.
Conclusions: STD clinic samples may not be sufficiently representative of community STD-related KAB collected by telephone surveys, even for that subset of community respondents with high-risk behaviors associated with STDs.