Objectives: To investigate the provision for sexual health care of adolescents in genitourinary medicine clinics in the United Kingdom.
Methods: A questionnaire was sent to all 170 consultants in charge of genitourinary medicine clinics in the United Kingdom.
Results: Completed questionnaires were received from 119 consultants in charge of clinics. Eleven per cent of attenders during April-June 1995 were aged under 20 years. Attenders aged under 16 years and from 16-19 years old were found to have significantly higher rated of gonorrhoea than those aged over 19. The same applied to male attenders with chlamydia. Female attenders aged 16-19 had significantly higher rates of anogenital warts than those aged over 19. Thirty six per cent of female cases of gonorrhoea occurred under the age of 20 years. In most clinics (74%) it was policy for a new clinic attender aged under 16 years to see a health adviser. Most clinics (79%) provided emergency contraception, but few (14%) had a full contraception service. Most clinics participated in STD/HIV/sexual health education in the local community, especially in schools (74%) and colleges (70%). Seventy five per cent of health authorities had medical services designated for young people, but only 18% had such services which offered screening for STDs. Only 4% of genitourinary medicine clinics held sessions which were designated for young people (upper age limit 21 years or less).
Conclusions: Genitourinary medicine clinics in the United Kingdom provide a range of services, including extensive education in the community, to promote sexual health among adolescents. A critical evaluation of the quality of health education activity by genitourinary medicine clinics would be of interest.