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Adjudication History and African American Adolescents’ Risk for Acquiring Sexually Transmitted Diseases:: An Exploratory Analysis

Crosby, Richard A. PhD*†; DiClemente, Ralph J. PhD*†‡§; Wingood, Gina M. ScD, MPH*†; Rose, Eve MPH*; Levine, David MD, FAAP

Sexually Transmitted Diseases: August 2003 - Volume 30 - Issue 8 - p 634-638
doi: 10.1097/01.OLQ.0000085183.54900.B6

Background Little is known about sexually transmitted disease (STD) risk behavior among adjudicated African American adolescents.

Goal The goal of the study was to compare STD-associated risk profiles of African American adolescents reporting a history of adjudication and those not reporting adjudication.

Study Design A cross-sectional survey of 304 African American adolescent males and females (aged 15–21 years) was conducted. Adolescents were recruited from primary care clinics and through outreach activities.

Results Twenty-six percent of the adolescents reported adjudication. After adjusting for gender, adjudicated adolescents were about 3.6 and 4.5 times, respectively, more likely than nonadjudicated adolescents to report ever having one of three STDs (gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis) or to report having one of these in the past 90 days. Reporting recent sex with someone known or suspected of having an STD was about nine times more likely among adjudicated adolescents, and they were about 2.6 times more likely than their nonadjudicated counterparts to report using drugs or alcohol during their last sexual experience and 2.2 times more likely to report frequent sex in the past 90 days.

Conclusions African American adolescents with a history of adjudication may have greater risk for acquisition of STDs than their peers not reporting adjudication.

Adolescents detained for legal offenses, especially African Americans, are a highly vulnerable population for the acquisition and transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.

*From the Rollins School of Public Health, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education; Emory Center for AIDS Research; Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, and Immunology, and §Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University School of Medicine; and Department of Pediatrics, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

This study was supported by a grant from the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, to the second author.

Reprint requests: Richard A. Crosby, PhD, Rollins School of Public Health, 1518 Clifton Road NE, Room 542, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail:

Received November 20, 2002,

revised February 18, 2003, and accepted February 19, 2003.

© Copyright 2003 American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association