Coping strategies of adolescent girls in response to the acquisition of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) were evaluated. Perceptions of control over acquisition of an STD and emotional impact were assessed. The sample consisted of 177 adolescent girls recruited from their source of primary care (mean age = 16.8). There were no differences in the use of coping strategies by age group or STD history. Subjects used a wide variety of coping strategies; those who viewed the future acquisition of an STD more negatively used more strategies. Wishful thinking was used by most of the subjects, but was not felt to be helpful; despite this, adolescents with a previous STD were no less likely to use wishful thinking. It was concluded that adolescent health care providers must understand girls' responses to STD and help them develop effective coping skills to reduce the incidence of STD.