Screening for sexually transmitted infections among economically disadvantaged youth in a national job training program

Alan R Lifson, Linda L. Halcón, Peter J Hannan, Michael E. St. Louis, Charles R. Hayman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Purpose: To evaluate results of screening for syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia among youth in a federally funded job training program. Methods: Data were evaluated from medical records of 12,881 randomly selected students in 54 U.S. job training centers during 1996. The intake medical evaluation includes serologic testing for syphilis. The policy was for females to receive a pelvic examination with gonorrhea and chlamydia testing and for males to be first screened with a urine leukocyte esterase (LE) assay, with follow-up gonorrhea and chlamydia testing for those with positive LE results. Results: Adjusting for our sampling strategy, among females, an estimated 9.2% had a positive chlamydia test, 2.7% a positive gonorrhea test, and 0.4% had a positive syphilis test. Gonorrhea and chlamydia rates among females were highest in African-American followed by Native American students. Chlamydia infection was most common in younger women ≤17 years of age. An estimated 0.1% of males had a positive syphilis test, and 4.8% of males a positive urine LE test. Of 103 LE-positive males tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia, only 27 (26%) had a positive test for one of these STDs. Conclusions: Our study supports routine screening of adolescents for gonorrhea and chlamydia, including those youth from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds. Because individuals from such backgrounds may not regularly interact with traditional clinical health care systems, screening and treatment should be offered in alternative settings, such as the job training program described in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by grants #S236-15/15 from the Association of Schools of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


  • Adolescents
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Syphilis


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