Publication Date



Academic Emergency Medicine


OBJECTIVES: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pose a significant health burden in adolescents. Many adolescents receiving care in the emergency department (ED) are in need of testing, regardless of their chief complaint. Our objective was to determine whether an electronic, risk-based STI screening program in our ED was associated with an increase in STI testing among at-risk adolescents.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort analysis of patient outcomes in our pediatric ED after integrating an Audio-enhanced Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) as standard of care. It obtained a focused sexual history and generated STI testing recommendations. Patient answers and testing recommendations were integrated in real-time into the electronic health record. Patients who tested positive received treatment according to our standard-of-care practices. All patients 15-21 years of age were asked to complete this on an opt-out basis, regardless of the reason for their ED visit. Exclusions included those unable to independently use a tablet, severe illness, sexual assault, or non-English speaking. Our primary outcome was to describe STI-testing recommendations and test results among ACASI participants. We also compared STI testing between ACASI participants and those who were eligible but did not use it.

RESULTS: In the first 13 months, 28.9% (1788/6194) of eligible adolescents completed the ACASI and 44.2% (321/790) accepted recommended STI testing. The mean age of participants was 16.6 ± 1.3 years, with 65.4% (1169) being female. Gonorrhea/chlamydia testing was significantly higher among participants vs. non-participants (20.1% [359/1788] vs 4.8% [212/4406]; p < 0.0001). The proportion of positive STI tests was similar between the two groups: 24.8% (89/359) vs. 24.5% (52/212; p = 0.94) were positive for chlamydia and/or gonorrhea, while 0.6% (2/354) participants vs. 0% non-participants (p > 0.99) were positive for HIV. Among participants whose chief complaints were unlikely to be related to STIs but accepted recommended testing, 20.9% (37/177) were positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia.

CONCLUSIONS: Our program facilitated STI testing in the ED and identified many adolescents with STIs, even when their ED complaint was for unrelated reasons. More rigorous implementation is needed to determine the impact of deployment of ACASI to all eligible adolescents and addressing barriers to accepting STI testing recommendations.


Adolescent, Child, Chlamydia Infections, Emergency Service, Hospital, Female, Gonorrhea, HIV Infections, Humans, Male, Mass Screening, Retrospective Studies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases



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