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August 1999

Features of Sexually Transmitted Disease Services Important to African American Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco (Drs Lane, Millstein, and Ellen); Department of Public Health, City and County of San Francisco (Ms McCright); Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley (Ms Garrett); STD Control Branch, California Department of Health Services, Berkeley (Dr Bolan). Dr Ellen is now with the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153(8):829-833. doi:10.1001/archpedi.153.8.829

Objective  To determine the relative importance of various features of health clinics when African American adolescents consider seeking care for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Design  Confidential interviewer-administered telephone survey.

Setting  A predominantly low-income, African American neighborhood in San Francisco, Calif.

Participants  Random sample of African American adolescents aged 12 to 17 years; 302 (76.6%) of 394 identified eligible adolescents participated.

Main Outcome Measures  Items and scales measuring adolescents' sense of the importance of the attributes of the provider (α=.58), availability of services (α=.61), and perceived confidentiality of health services from family (α=.72) when deciding where to seek care for possible STDs.

Results  More than 90% (90.4%) of subjects rated items relating to provider attributes as being highly important when they consider where they would seek care for an STD; between 62.5% and 82.7% rated availability items as being highly important; and between 38.6% and 60.8% rated items pertaining to confidentiality as being highly important. Greater importance was placed on provider attributes and confidentiality by female than male adolescents. The importance placed on provider attributes and confidentiality increased as adolescents aged.

Conclusions  Low-income, African American adolescents place great importance on provider attributes, less importance on availability, and even less importance on confidentiality when deciding where to seek health care for a possible STD. Health care providers and organizations need to be aware of these adolescent preferences to better promote screening and treatment of STDs in this population.