Objectives To evaluate acceptance of sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and measure STI prevalence in an asymptomatic adolescent emergency department (ED) population. Study design This was a prospectively enrolled cross-sectional study of 14- to 21-year-old patients who sought care at an urban pediatric ED with non-STI related complaints. Participants completed a computer-assisted questionnaire to collect demographic and behavioral data and were asked to provide a urine sample to screen for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection. We calculated STI screening acceptance and STI prevalence. We used logistic regression to identify factors associated with screening acceptance and presence of infection. Results Of 553 enrolled patients, 326 (59.0%) agreed to be screened for STIs. STI screening acceptability was associated with having public health insurance (aOR 1.7; 1.1, 2.5) and being sexually active (sexually active but denying high risk activity [aOR 1.7; 1.1, 2.5]; sexually active and reporting high risk activity [aOR 2.6; 1.5, 4.6]). Sixteen patients (4.9%; 95% CI 2.6, 7.3) had an asymptomatic STI. High-risk sexual behavior (aOR 7.2; 1.4, 37.7) and preferential use of the ED rather than primary care for acute medical needs (aOR 4.0; 1.3, 12.3) were associated with STI. Conclusions STI screening is acceptable to adolescents in the ED, especially among those who declare sexual experience. Overall, there was a low prevalence of asymptomatic STI. Risk of STI was higher among youth engaging in high-risk sexual behavior and those relying on the ED for acute health care access. Targeted screening interventions may be more efficient than universal screening for STI detection in the ED.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health