Sexually transmitted infections are on the rise, yet a sexual history
of adolescent girls presenting with abdominal pain
is not routinely sought or recorded. We developed a survey to examine the barriers to taking a sexual history
We surveyed 56 medical students and residents rotating through a pediatric emergency department during a 3-month span. Surveys were distributed electronically using Dillman methods, and responses were anonymous.
Although respondents generally believed it was appropriate to routinely take a sexual history
from girls as young as 12 years old, in cases where a sexual history
was omitted, we found that the young age of the patient, the presence of the patient's parents, and an unsubstantiated belief that the patient was chaste are the barriers to taking a sexual history
from adolescent girls presenting to the emergency department with abdominal pain
The barriers to taking a sexual history
in adolescent girls are multifaceted. Further training is needed to expose learners' preconceived notions of sexuality as barriers to taking a sexual history
, to provide practical methods for overcoming those barriers, and to further instill in learners the importance of doing so.