Prevalence of 3 sexually transmitted infections in a pediatric emergency department

Document Type


Publication Date



10.1097/PEC.0000000000000284; PMCID: PMC5004729


Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrheae, and Trichomonas vaginalis and to describe factors associated with sexually transmitted infection (STI) in a pediatric emergency department (ED).

METHODS: Adolescents aged 14 to 19 years presenting to a Midwestern pediatric ED were asked to provide urine for STI testing and complete a survey about previous sexual activity (PSA), high-risk behaviors, demographics, and visit reason (reproductive: genitourinary complaints, abdominal pain, or a female with vomiting). Comparisons between subgroups were analyzed using X test.

RESULTS: Among 200 subjects (64% of approached), mean age was 15.6 years; 63% were female. Eleven subjects (6%; 95% confidence interval, 2.3-8.7) tested positive for 1 or more STIs: 10 for C. trachomatis (one denied PSA), 3 for T. vaginalis (all coinfected with C. trachomatis), and 1 for N. gonorrheae. Half reported PSA; of these, 71% reported 1 or more high-risk behaviors, most commonly first sex before the age of 15 years (51%) and no condom at last sex (42%). Among those with PSA and nonreproductive visit (n = 73), 11.0% had 1 or more STIs (95% confidence interval, 3.4-18.1). Two factors were associated with greater likelihood of positive STI test result, namely, reporting PSA versus no PSA (10% vs 1%, P = 0.005) and last sex within 1 month or less versus more than 1 month (20% vs 0%, P = 0.001). In this sample, none of the following characteristics were associated with STI: insurance, race, high-risk behaviors, age, or ED visit reason.

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 1 in 10 sexually active adolescent ED patients without reproductive complaints had 1 or more STIs. This suggests the need for strategies to increase STI testing for this population.

Journal Title

Pediatric Emergency Care





First Page


Last Page



Adolescent health services, Prevalence, Sexually transmitted diseases

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