Date of Award


First Advisor

Anne O'Dwyer

Second Advisor

Mike Bergman


Sexually transmitted infections (STI) remain a prevalent concern in our society, and one that particularly affects youths between the ages of 15-24 years. To address this issue, we have developed for deSTIgma—a a prototype for an app and website that provides an STI risk assessment questionnaire and recommends appropriate STI tests using Meachine Learning (ML) based on the user’s basic information (e.g. age, sex, gender, zip code, etc.), as well their sexual history, medical history, symptoms, and other risk factors. As of now, we are using mock data based on literature and case studies, but we hope to ultimately train our algorithm using clinical data upon receiving our IRB approval.. deSTIgma can also connect users to educational sources, nearby clinics, and local resources (e.g. testing kits). This thesis also explores the use and impact of health digital platforms among teens and young adults, as well as the literature on biopsychosocial factors, psychological profiles, neurodevelopmental underpinnings, and stigma around STIs to improve the accuracy of our risk assessment questionnaire and tailor the digital platforms for use by young adults. The objective of deSTIgma and thesis is to improve accessibility, encourage testing, increase awareness, and reduce the stigma associated with STIs.

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