September 15, 2010
The authors examined the effect of a community-based STI screening program on sexual risk behavior among African-Americans ages 14-17. They hypothesized that adolescents testing positive for an STI and receiving post-test counseling would reduce risky sexual practices, whereas STI-negative adolescents would show little or no change in protective sexual behavior after screening.
From August 2006 to January 2008, 636 sexually active African-American adolescents were recruited from community-based organizations in two mid-size US cities with high STI prevalence. The youths were screened for three STIs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis), and they completed an audio computer-assisted self-interview. Those who tested STI-positive (6.6 percent) received treatment and counseling. Youths who tested negative received no additional intervention. Approximately 85 percent of participants completed three- and six-month follow-up assessments. The effects of STI screening on participants' number of sexual partners and occurrence of unprotected sex were determined using generalized estimating equations.
STI-positive adolescents reduced their number of vaginal and oral sex partners and the probability of unprotected sex. Adolescents who tested negative for an STI demonstrated no change in number of partners or reports of unprotected sex, study results showed.
"Community-based STI screening can help to reduce sexual risk behavior in youth who test positive for STIs," the authors concluded. "Alternative approaches will be needed to reduce risk behavior in youths who test negative but who are nevertheless at risk for acquiring an STI."
Journal of Adolescent Health
07.2010; Vol. 47; No. 1: P. 12-19; Sharon R. Sznitman, Ph.D., and others
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