Acceptability of Universally Offered Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Screening

This study is an exploration of adolescent and parent or guardian attitudes about benefits and barriers to universally offered gonorrhea and chlamydia screening and modalities for assessing interest in screening in the pediatric emergency department | Annals of Emergency Medicine


Methods: A convenience sample of forty 14- to 21-year-olds and parents or guardians of adolescents presenting to an urban and community pediatric ED with any chief complaint participated in individual, semistructured, confidential interviews. Topics included support of universally offered gonorrhea and chlamydia screening, barriers and benefits to screening, and modalities for assessing interest in screening. Data were analyzed with framework analysis.

Results: Almost all adolescents (37/40; 93%) and parents (39/40; 98%) support offering ED gonorrhea or chlamydia screening. Benefits included earlier diagnosis and treatment, convenience and transmission prevention (cited by both groups), and improved education and long-term health (cited by parents/guardians). Barriers included concerns about confidentiality and cost (cited by both groups), embarrassment (cited by adolescents), and nondisclosure to parents or guardians (cited by parents/guardians). Adolescents preferred that the request for gonorrhea or chlamydia screening be presented in a private room, using tablet technology. Both groups noted that the advantages to tablets included confidentiality and adolescents’ familiarity with technology. Adolescents noted that tablet use would address concerns about bringing up gonorrhea or chlamydia screening with clinicians, whereas parents or guardians noted that tablets might increase screening incidence but expressed concern about the lack of personal interaction.

Conclusion: Universally offered gonorrhea and chlamydia screening in a pediatric ED was acceptable to the adolescents and parents or guardians in this study. Offering a tablet-based method to assess interest in screening may increase participation.

Full reference: Reed, J.L. et al. (2017) A Qualitative Analysis of Adolescent and Caregiver Acceptability of Universally Offered Gonorrhea and Chlamydia Screening in the Pediatric Emergency Department. Annals of Emergency Medicine. DOI:10.1016/j.annemergmed.2017.04.017.