Background The Young Persons Clinic (YPC) was set up within the GUIDE Clinic as a dedicated clinic for young people aged 18 years and under, offering them quality time to address risk behaviour, sexual activity, detection, treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). The legal age of consent in Ireland is 17 years, however many attendees are under this age or report prior sexual activity under the age of consent. As a result healthcare providers often find themselves operating in a legislative vacuum. This prospective study, performed between January and April 2012 examines presentations to the YPC, including age of coitarche, number of partners, prevalence of STI’s and satifaction of parents.
Results A total of 110 patients attended the YPC, 71% (N78) female, 29% (N = 32) male. Clinical details were analysed. 45% (N = 50) were asymptomatic. A total of 98% (N108) underwent HIV testing of whom were HIV negative. 16.36% (N = 18) were diagnosed with Chlamydia Trachomatis, 17% (N = 19) with Genital Warts, 3.6% (N = 4) with primary Herpes Simples.
18% (N = 20) had sex for the first time at 14 years of age, 5.5% (N = 6) admitted to having had at least 20 partners.
A total of 30% (N = 33) were unaccompanied. Of those accompanied 31.1% (N = 24) were accompanied by mother, 5.1% (N = 4) father, 16.8% (N = 13) careworker and other relatives 5.1% (N = 4). The remaining 49.1% (N = 55) by either partner or friends.
A total of 45 parent satisfaction surveys were completed. While 6% (N = 3) expressed concerns about their child attending the service without their knowledge, overall they were very impressed and 100% stated they would recommend the service to others.
Conclusion This study demonstrates that within our YPC cohort there was a high prevalence of sexual activity below the age of consent. With several having multiple partners, risky sexual behaviours and consequently a wide spectrum of STI’s
- Sexual activity