Understanding young people’s barriers to sexually transmitted disease screening and meeting their needs: A focus group study

Bettina Trettin, Tine Vestergaard, Anette Stensgaard


Background: Chlamydia is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in adolescents, and may have severe consequences such as pelvic infections, cervical cancer and infertility if left untreated. Studies have determined that young people have several barriers towards getting tested for STD. This study seeks not only to address the barriers to STD testing but also to understand them and thereby improve the quality of care in an outpatient clinic and increase screening rates.

Methods: The study uses a phenomenological, hermeneutical approach through qualitative interviews.  Four focus groups with a total of 22 participants in the age between 16-25 years were conducted for this study.

Results: It was found that testing for STD is still associated with stigmatization and our findings indicate that testing for STD should undergo normalization. At the same time health care providers face a major challenge in advising young people due to the lack of knowledge and the fear of being reprimanded.

Conclusions: None of the participants were aware of our clinic. Changes were made in the outpatient clinic to consider the needs of the young people. We implemented non-invasive screening methods for those attending asymptomatic screening, introduced both nurse-led consultations and anonymous counseling regarding STDs and testing.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v5n6p81

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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