Adolescent Attitudes Toward Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening in the Emergency Department

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Abstract

Objectives

Adolescents who seek care in emergency departments (EDs) are often at high risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The objective of this study was to assess adolescent attitudes toward ED-based STI screening.

Methods

We conducted a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional study that evaluated STI screening acceptability and prevalence when STI testing was universally offered to asymptomatic adolescents presenting to the ED for care. Adolescents 14 to 21 years old completed a computerized survey and answered questions regarding attitudes toward ED-based STI screening and sexual behavior. We performed multivariable logistic regression to compare differences in attitudes toward ED-based STI screening among patients who agreed versus declined STI testing.

Results

Of 553 adolescents, 326 (59.0%) agreed to be tested for STIs. Most (72.1%) believed the ED was an appropriate place for STI screening. Patients who agreed to be tested for STIs were more likely to positively endorse ED-based STI screening than those who declined STI testing [77.0% vs 64.8%; adjusted odds ratios, 1.6; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1–2.4]. Most (82.6%) patients stated they would feel comfortable getting tested for STIs in the ED. There was no difference in the comfort level of ED-based STI testing between those who agreed and declined STI testing (83.5% vs 81.4%; adjusted odds ratios, 1.1; 95% CI, 0.7–1.8).

Conclusion

Our results suggest that adolescents view the ED as an acceptable location for STI screening. Therefore, the ED may serve a role in increasing the accessibility of STI detection and prevention resources for adolescents.

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