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High Prevalence of Asymptomatic STDs in Incarcerated Minority Male Youth: A Case for Screening

Pack, Robert P. PhD*; Diclemente, Ralph J. PhD; Hook, Edward W. III MD; Oh, M. Kim MD§

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: March 2000 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 175–177
Original Articles

Background and Objectives: To assess STD prevalence among a sample of incarcerated minority male youth in a southern US city.

Methods: A consecutive entrant, cross-sectional study of 284 minority males 14 to 18 years was performed. All adolescents were screened for gonorrhea and chlamydia using ligase chain reaction tests.

Results: Eighteen percent of youth were identified as having either gonorrhea, chlamydia, or both. Approximately 84% of those with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) self-reported having no symptoms. Failure to use condoms in the past month was significantly associated with a positive test result for STDs (odds ratio = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.1-3.3).

Conclusions: The findings indicate an urgent need for routine STD screening and STD-prevention programs for adolescent males in detention facilities. A study of 284 detained black male adolescents revealed 18% prevalence of gonorrhea, chlamydia, or both. Approximately 84% of those with sexually transmitted diseases self-reported not having symptoms.

*From the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown, West Virginia; the †Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; and the Departments of ‡Internal Medicine and §Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, Alabama

Supported by Dissertation Research Award #RO3 MH57177-01 from the National Institute of Mental Health Office on AIDS (Dr. Pack).

Correspondence: Robert Pack, PhD, Assistant Professor, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Department of Community Medicine, P.O. Box 9190, Morgantown, WV 26506-9190. E-mail: rpack3@wvu.edu

Received for publication May 15, 1999, revised September 30, 1999, and accepted October 8, 1999.

© Copyright 2000 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association