Community-Based, Point-of-Care Sexually Transmitted Infection Screening Among High-Risk Adolescents in Los Angeles and New Orleans: Protocol for a Mixed-Methods Study

JMIR Res Protoc. 2019 Mar 22;8(3):e10795. doi: 10.2196/10795.


Background: Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates are increasing in the United States, with approximately half of new infections occurring among adolescents aged 15-24 years. Gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (GBTY), homeless youth, and youth with histories of drug use, mental health disorders, and incarceration are all at uniquely high risk for STIs. However, these adolescents often lack access to sexual health services.

Objective: This study aims to use point-of-care STI tests in community-based settings to screen for and treat STIs in adolescents.

Methods: We are recruiting 1500 HIV-uninfected youth and 220 HIV-infected youth from homeless shelters, GBTY organizations, and community health centers in Los Angeles, California and New Orleans, Louisiana. Study participants will receive STI screening every 4 months for 24 months. STI screening includes rapid HIV, syphilis, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Hepatitis C virus testing. Trained paraprofessionals will conduct all STI testing. When a participant screens positive for an STI, they are either linked to a partner medical clinic or provided with same-day antibiotic therapy and expedited partner therapy. We will monitor STI prevalence among study participants as well as point-of-care test performance, linkage to care, and treatment outcomes.

Results: The project was funded in 2016, and enrollment will be completed in 2019. Preliminary data analysis is currently underway.

Conclusions: As STI rates continue to rise, it is important to improve access to screening and treatment services, particularly for high-risk adolescents. In this study, we aim to evaluate the use of point-of-care STI diagnostic tests in community-based organizations. We hope to determine the prevalence of STIs among these adolescents and evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of community-based STI screening and treatment.

Trial registration: NCT03134833;

International registered report identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/10795.

Keywords: adolescents; point-of-care testing; sexually transmitted infections.

Associated data