Aim: This study explored health beliefs and behaviours related to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from the perspective of juvenile offenders with STIs in three urban cities. Methods: Data were collected using observations and in-depth interviews between July and November, 2014. Under the supervision of probation officers, 24 juvenile offenders with STIs were interviewed. Leininger's four-step method guided the data analysis. Findings: From participants' perspectives, poor hygiene and a promiscuous lifestyle caused the STIs. The diseases were considered an adult disease with distinct symptoms and deformities, no cure, and therefore fatal. STIs were shameful for juveniles because their presence revealed sexually active behaviours. The juveniles' health-related behaviours included neglecting their STI symptoms because they did not know they were infected, mistaking STIs for other health conditions, choosing to suffer rather than revealing their diagnosis, and keeping their genitals clean. Conclusion: A large gap emerged between juveniles' beliefs and behaviours related to STIs. Policies and education are needed to provide accurate STI information for this population.
- health behaviour
- qualitative research
- sexually transmitted diseases