192784 A Qualitative Analysis of Barriers in Screening for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) in the Youth Population of Miami Dade County, Florida

Monday, November 9, 2009

Asma Aftab, MD, MPH , Family Medicine and Community Health, University of Miami, Miami, FL
Background: Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2005 among Florida public high school students found that more than 50% of teenagers have had sexual intercourse by the age of 16 years and 61% by the age of 18 years. With close to two-thirds of all STDs occurring among young people under 25 years and the highest rates among teenagers, STDs poses an important health risk in adolescent and youth.

Objective: To understand the behavior of sexually active adolescents regarding protected sex and screening for STDs regularly.

Methods: Three focus group discussions were conducted in a Senior high school as part of an intervention to increase the Chlamydia screening. One each was comprised exclusively of sexually active boys and girls respectively and the third was a mixed gender group. The topics included student's knowledge of safe sex, STDs, condom use and their beliefs and attitudes about importance and barriers of screening.

Results: A significant lack of knowledge and understanding of STD transmission and complications were found. There was a student expressed need to have an updated knowledge and practical sex education in school. The greatest barrier to get screened for STDs was confidentiality and fear of parental notification.

Conclusions: The prevalence of STDs in the youth can be decreased by enhancing sex education curriculum with a peer led model of awareness about types and transmission of STDs. The school clinics should be made more accessible for STD screening by confidentiality assurance to the students and disseminating more information about the clinic services.

Learning Objectives:
To have a better understanding of the factors that sexually active teens consider when making decisions regarding protected sex and screening for STDs regularly.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have medical as well as a public health degree and have a faculty position at my institution. I am working in the field of public health since 15 years internationally.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.