Author(s): Biro FM, Rosenthal SL, Stanberry LR
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Abstract The purpose of this study is to examine how a previous infection with gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted disease (STD) will impact on patients' knowledge of gonorrhea. Adolescent girls were recruited from a primary-care adolescent clinic. Those with a history of an STD were overrecruited. Participants were given a standardized questionnaire regarding several symptoms and sequelae of STD. The results of this study revealed that girls (N = 248, mean age = 16.9 years) with a personal history of gonorrhea had more correct responses than those with no history of an STD, but they were not statistically different from those with a nongonococcal STD. No group had a mean correct score greater than 6.66 out of 13. Nearly two out of three participants reported that an individual had to always have one of four symptoms (discharge, pain on urination, rash, or sores) when there is a gonococcal infection. Overall, adolescents have an inaccurate foundation of knowledge regarding symptoms and sequelae of gonorrhea. Although those with a previous history of gonorrhea had higher mean scores than those with no history of an STD, they still identified the correct responses only half the time. Additionally, adolescents with a history of gonorrhea or another STD were no more likely to have identified the possibility of asymptomatic infection, despite several having only a history of asymptomatic infection. PIP: A survey of 248 sexually active adolescent females 12-21 years of age (mean age, 16.9 years) revealed a disturbing lack of knowledge about gonorrhea, even among those with a personal history of this sexually transmitted disease (STD). Subjects were recruited from a primary care adolescent clinic at a US teaching hospital; 80\% were Black. 74\% of subjects had a history of at least one STD episode, and 53\% of these females had been infected with gonorrhea. Subjects were asked to respond, on a Likert scale, to 13 statements about the implications of a gonorrhea diagnosis. The mean number of correct answers (with 13 representing a perfect score) was 5.83 among adolescents with no STD history, 6.08 among those with an STD other than gonorrhea, and 6.66 among those with a history of gonorrhea. 64\% believed that gonorrhea is always accompanied by at least one of four symptoms--pain on urination, discharge, rash, or sore--despite the fact that many of the gonorrhea patients had had an asymptomatic infection. Although adolescents with a history of gonorrhea were more likely than their counterparts to understand that this STD does not recur after appropriate treatment, they were no more knowledgeable about possible long-term effects of gonorrhea on fertility.
This article was published in Clin Pediatr (Phila)
and referenced in Journal of Pharmaceutical Care & Health Systems