Objectives: This study identified social, cognitive, and behavioral factors associated with how adolescents seek health care for sexually transmitted diseases.
Methods: Data for male and female adolescents (n = 208) attending a clinic specializing in sexually transmitted diseases were examined.
Results: Symptomatic female adolescents required greater time to obtain care than asymptomatic female adolescents or symptomatic male adolescents. Factors affecting duration of care seeking interval included perception of barriers to care, lower self-efficacy for response to a sexually transmitted disease, greater perceived seriousness of sexually transmitted diseases, previous history of sexually transmitted diseases, and stigma.
Conclusions: Improved secondary sexually transmitted disease prevention efforts among adolescents require reductions in barriers to care and improved symptom recognition by adolescents.