Study revealed that girls and older adolescents should
Regardless of reported sexual activity, all adolescents
should be screened for sexually transmitted infections, according to a new
study conducted in New York City public high schools.
Results of a study by Jessica S. Han, MSc, and
colleagues at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and
CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB
Prevention, indicate that black, older adolescent females are most likely to
test positive for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria
A significant number of students who did not answer the
sexual activity question but chose to screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea had a
positive result. Therefore, the researchers wrote, “school screening
programs should offer screening to all students regardless of reported sexual
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the two most commonly
reported bacterial STIs in the United States. Adolescents and young adults aged
15 to 24 years have the highest rates of these STIs.
Similar to many other US cities, the New York City
school system offers STI education, screening and treatment, specifically
targeting chlamydia and gonorrhea.
From 2006 to 2009, investigators educated 57,418
students and screened 27,353 students for the two STIs; 1,736 (6.3%) students
reportedly had chlamydia or gonorrhea. Females were more likely to test
positive (8.9%), report black race (8.3%) and be aged 16 years or older
(6.6%-9.7%). The study results revealed that screening rates were 70.6% for
sexually active students; 27.9% for students who were not sexually active; and
47.3% for students who did not respond to the questionnaire. Positivity rates
for the two STIs were 7.2%, 1.4% and 6.1%, respectively.
The investigators used univariate, bivariate and
multivariate logistic regression analyses to assess relationships between sex,
age, race/ethnicity, sexual activity and screening status. The relationship
between positive STI and sexual activity was also evaluated.
“Findings from this study indicate that chlamydia
is a common STD among young people, particularly young females, and emphasize
that routine chlamydia/gonorrhea screening for all sexually active adolescents
and young adults is extremely important in clinical settings,” Han told
Infectious Diseases in Children. “Population-based STD screening programs
should offer chlamydia/gonorrhea screening to all students, regardless of their
self-reported sexual history, but emphasize that previous sex is a risk factor,
and they should target older adolescents and females.”
For more information:
- Han JS. J Adolesc Health.
Disclosure: The funding source for this project is the New York
City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.