Sex Transm Infect 78:365-368 doi:10.1136/sti.78.5.365
  • Adolescent sexual health

Post-treatment sexual and prevention behaviours of adolescents with sexually transmitted infections

  1. J D Fortenberry1,
  2. E J Brizendine2,
  3. B P Katz2,
  4. D P Orr1
  1. 1Section of Adolescent Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Indiana University School of Medicine, IN, USA
  2. 2Division of Biostatistics, Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, IN, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 J Dennis Fortenberry, Riley Hospital Parking Garage, Room 070, 575 N West Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA;
  • Accepted 1 August 2002


Objective: To evaluate sexual behaviour (including abstinence), sex partner change, and condom use during the 3 month period following treatment for Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Chlamydia trachomatis, Trichomonas vaginalis, or non-gonococcal urethritis.

Methods: 251 14–21 year old participants (83% female; 83% African-American) diagnosed with gonorrhoea, chlamydia, trichomonas, or non-gonococcal urethritis or sexual contacts of infected partners. Participants were clients of a public sexually transmitted diseases clinic or primary care adolescent clinics. Data were collected by structured interview at treatment, 1 month post-treatment, and 3 months post-treatment. At each visit, participants were asked about coital frequency and condom use for each recent partner. At 1 month, participants were asked when coitus occurred following treatment. At each follow up visit, sex partners were compared to partners named at treatment and classified as “same partner(s),” “new partner(s),” or both “same and new partner(s).”

Results: Post-treatment abstinence was reported by 26% and 19% for the 1 month and 3 month visits, respectively. Abstinence was associated with greater likelihood of infection at enrolment although abstainers reported fewer lifetime STI and fewer lifetime sex partners. A substantial proportion of participants reported additional sexual contact with a previous partner. The average proportion of condom protected coital events increased from about 45% at enrolment to 64% at 1 month and 58% at 3 months (p<0.05). Higher levels were sustained for the 3 months following treatment.

Conclusions: Many adolescents adopt, at least temporarily, risk reduction behaviours such as abstinence or increased condom use. Sexual re-exposure to potentially untreated previous partners may increase risk of subsequent reinfection.