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Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States

March 3, 2000

A recent study in the Journal of School Health explores adolescents' use of school-based clinics (SBCs) for family planning and STD-related services.

Researchers looked at data from 20,743 students 12 to 21 years of age who participated in the Add Health study. This study was conducted between April and December 1995 and is based on a systematic random sample of students in grades 7 through 12 in 134 U.S. secondary schools.


Results:

Sexual Behavior

  • About 40% of the sample reported ever having sexual intercourse. Of those with sexual experience, 6% reported at least one diagnosis of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, HIV, or trichomoniasis.

  • Of the sexually experienced females, 20% reported ever being pregnant.

Family Planning Services

  • About 6% of respondents reported using family planning or counseling services in the past year.

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Of these students:

  • 66% were female, 34% were male

  • 59% resided in partly rural areas, 41% resided in urban areas

  • 66% identified as White, 25% as Black, 6% as Native American, 5% as Asian, and 10% as "other race"

  • 33% reported receiving services in a community health clinic, 23% in a private medical clinic, 13% in a school-based clinic, 9% in a hospital, and 21% in "other locations"

Family Planning in School Based Clinics

  • Of the students who reported receiving family planning services in a school-based clinic:

  • 57% were female, 43% were male

  • 72% resided in partly rural areas, 29% resided in urban areas

  • 51% identified as White, 28% as Black, 8% as Asian, 5% as Native American, and 8% as "other race"

  • 80% did not have a driver's license STD-related Services

  • About 6% of respondents reported using STD-related services.

Of these students:

  • 65% were female, 35% were male

  • 65% resided in partly rural areas, 35% resided in urban areas

  • 50% identified as White, 36% as Black, 6% as Native American, 5% as Asian, and 12% as "other race"

  • 36% reported receiving services in a community health clinic, 29% in a private medical clinic, 18% in a hospital, 9% in a school-based clinic, and 8% in "other locations"

STD-related Services in School-Based Clinics

  • Of the students who reported receiving STD-related services in a school-based clinic:

  • 39% were females, 61% were male

  • 76% resided in partly rural areas, 24% resided in urban areas

  • 48% identified as White, 23% as Black, 8% as Asian, 3% as Native American, and 17% identified as "other race"

  • 69% did not have a driver's license

Adolescents were most likely to seek reproductive health services from community clinics and private medical clinics. Only one in ten reported receiving these services from an SBC. Attending a school that provided reproductive health services in an SBC was not related to use of an SBC for these services.

Though females were almost twice as likely as males to receive family planning or counseling services, the authors note that a sizable portion of males reported using these services. In addition, the results showed that males were more likely than females to use SBCs for STD-related services even though females overall were more likely to report receiving these services in the past year.

Adolescents who had received a routine physical exam from an SBC in the past year were among those who were most likely to use an SBC for STD-related services. The authors suggested that use of the SBC for a routine physical might build a trusting relationship with clinic staff and encourage students to seek STD-related services from them.

Adolescents who reported less perceived parental approval of sexual intercourse were also among the most likely to receive STD-related services at an SBC. The authors suggested that teens might feel that their parents would more likely question a visit to another clinic location.

The authors suggested that factors promoting the use of SBCs might include perceptions of professional treatment, confidentiality, convenience, and nonjudgmental interactions with clinic staff. They recommended that school health providers identify such factors to encourage adolescents to utilize the settings for primary and secondary prevention of STDs and unintended pregnancy.

For more information:

R. A. Crosby and J. St. Lawrence, "Adolescents' Use of School-based Health Clinics for Reproductive Health Services: Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Journal of School Health, vol. 70, no. 1, pp. 22-27.

Resources


The Boston Teen Health Report, published by the Boston Public Health Commission, was written by a group of area youth and is intended as a resource and information guide for adolescents.

The report covers a wide variety of health issues such as teen pregnancy, suicide, violence, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS. For each topic, the report offers concise definitions, raises important issues, and provides statistics on Boston youth.

The report also provides a list of local resources, a glossary of terms, and a list of local organizations to which teens can turn for additional help and information.

For a free copy:

Boston Public Health Commission
Office of Research Health & Data Systems (ORHADS)
1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02118
Phone: 617/534-4757
Fax: 617/534-2422
Web site: http://www.tiac.net/users/bdph/orhads/orhads.htm
Email: Kristen_oconnor@bphc.org



  
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This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.
 
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