The effect of combat exposure on sexually transmitted diseases
Economics & Human Biology, 2022, vol. 46, issue C
Traumatic exposures can affect beliefs and behaviors related to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), a persistent public health problem. I leverage a natural experiment created by variation in US military deployment location assignments to estimate how combat exposure changes a surviving deployed male veteran’s probability of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. I analyze longitudinal data from 1994 to 2008 on 485 deployed veterans with information theoretic methods to reduce the sensitivity of estimates to small samples, an infrequently observed outcome, and highly correlated covariates. For veterans assigned to a combat zone, I estimate combat exposure results in a 5.4 percentage point increase in the probability of acquiring an STD. Additional estimations provide evidence suggesting risky behaviors involving substance use or multiple sexual partners may serve as pathways from combat exposure to STDs. My results are relevant to discussions regarding STD screening and care needs for trauma exposed individuals.
Keywords: Sexually transmitted disease; Traumatic exposure; Combat; Veterans; Military; Health harm (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H56 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:ehbiol:v:46:y:2022:i:c:s1570677x22000387
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