Research Article| Volume 35, ISSUE 3, P371-374, June 2022

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The Adolescent Experience of Filling Prescriptions for the Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Infections

Published:December 23, 2021DOI:



      To describe adolescents’ experience with treatment adherence when prescribed antibiotics for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in emergency departments (ED).


      Adolescents diagnosed with STIs in two EDs and prescribed outpatient treatment were interviewed to identify barriers and facilitators to treatment adherence.


      Of 26 participants, 46.2% filled their prescriptions, 38.5% returned to the ED for treatment, 7.7% received treatment elsewhere, and 7.7% received no treatment. All adolescents who filled their prescriptions notified caregivers of their diagnosis, compared with 50.0% who returned to the ED (P = 0.01). Adolescents identified cost, transportation, lack of insurance card, and lack of knowledge as perceived barriers to treatment adherence. Less than half of the participants were interested in school-based health clinics due to anonymity concerns. Most expressed interest in using mobile health (mHealth) to overcome adherence challenges.


      Adolescents identified multiple barriers to treatment adherence. Future work should explore the role of caregiver communication and incorporation of mHealth.

      Key Words


      ED (emergency department), mHealth (mobile health), PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), STI (sexually transmitted infection)
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