Online Program

Reducing barriers to seeking sexual health services: Using data to inform services for adolescents and young adults

Sunday, November 1, 2015

David Taylor, BS, Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Christopher Fisher, PhD, Department of Health Promotion and Sexology, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
Melissa Tibbits, PhD, Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Jason Coleman, PhD, MSPH, School of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE
Aja Kneip Pelster, MPH, Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
background:  STIs among adolescents and young adults are widespread public health concern and a targeted objective of Healthy People 2020. Testing and treatment services are a crucial element of strategies to reduce STI rates, yet many youth do not access these services.  Published literature and national organizations have called for youth friendly clinics that accommodate the special needs of adolescent and young adult populations.  This presentation will discuss how research into the barriers to seeking sexual health services can be used to inform youth friendly clinics and other STI interventions targeted to youth.

methods:  Forty-one youth ages 13 - 22 completed audio recorded, semi-structured interviews focused on behaviors, knowledge, perceptions and attitudes of teen pregnancy, STIs, and the impact they have on the community.  Twenty-one community stakeholders, including clinical service providers, also were interviewed as part of an environmental scan. Interview transcripts were analyzed qualitatively to detect emergent themes.

results:  There was a large degree of concordance between interviews with youth and community stakeholders.  Lack of knowledge, stigma, and a perceived lack of confidentiality were significant barriers to sexual health seeking.  Additionally, many youth did not feel welcome at existing clinical services, highlighting perceived favoritism towards adults, long wait times, and inadequate hours. 

conclusion: These findings demonstrate avenues to reduce barriers to sexual health seeking and improve clinical services targeting youth including developing confidentiality statements, expanding clinic hours, and providing youth specific environments.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control

Learning Objectives:
Describe barriers to sexual health service seeking behavior among adolescents and young adults. Identify strategies to reduce barriers in STI interventions targeted towards adolescents and young adults.

Keyword(s): STDs/STI, Youth

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an advanced PhD student with three years of mentoring from accomplished experts and have been involved in the development and evaluation of a number of public health interventions. Among my scientific interests has been sexual and mental health particularly among sexual minorities as well as children, adolescents, and young adults.
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.