Recently Arrested Adolescents are at High Risk for Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Department of Criminal Justice, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122, USA.
Sex Transm Dis (Impact Factor: 2.84). 06/2008; 35(8):758-63. DOI: 10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31816d1f94
Source: PubMed


Adolescent offenders may be at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). With previous research and interventions focused on incarcerated adolescents, data are needed on STD prevalence and risk factors among newly arrested youth released to the community, a far larger subgroup.
Participants were recruited from all arrested youth processed at the Hillsborough County, Florida Juvenile Assessment Center during the last half of 2006 (506 males, 442 females). Participants voluntarily providing urine samples for drug testing as part of standard protocol were also consented to having their specimens split and tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, using an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test.
STD prevalence was similar to those previously reported among incarcerated adolescents: 11.5% tested positive for chlamydia, 4.2% for gonorrhea, and 13.2% for either or both infections. Prevalence was significantly higher among females: 19.2% of females had either or both infections compared with 10.5% of males. Prevalence was higher for 17 to 18 year olds (15.2% of males, 25.5% of females), blacks, detained youths, drug users, and those engaged in sexual risk behaviors. Previous STD testing experience was limited.
The study indicated that a voluntary STD screening protocol is feasible for arrested youth entering the juvenile justice system, and these offenders are at high risk for STDs. Because most arrested youths are released back to the community, routine testing and treatment of recently arrested youths, and expanded access to risk reduction and prevention programs, can yield substantial public health benefits.

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    • "Prior research has documented that social–ecological factors at the individual, peer, family and societal levels are associated with unsafe sexual behaviors among youth with a juvenile justice history (Belenko et al. 2008; Childs et al. 2011; Davis 2010; Voisin et al. 2007, 2011, 2012). However , no studies to date have examined whether or how well existing STI/HIV interventions target these significant levels. "
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    ABSTRACT: Youth involved in the juvenile justice system report significantly higher rates of STI/HIV infections, compared to youth in the general population. A limited number of epidemiological studies document that social–ecological factors at the peer, family, school, and policy levels are significantly related to unsafe sexual behaviors among this population. However, no existing studies have evaluated the extent to which existing STI/HIV intervention approaches target the various social–ecological factors that are implicated in STI/HIV risk behaviors among this cohort. Applying the social–ecological framework, we review research on STI/HIV prevention and intervention programs, which targeted family, peers, and school contexts of children and adolescent involved in the juvenile justice system. Our findings suggest that these youth report significantly higher rates of STI than do those with no juvenile justice involvement. However, we also found that a bulk of the programs reviewed have targeted individual risk factors as the primary target for behavior change, even though contextual factors beyond the individual are implicated in sexual behaviors. We conclude with implications for research and practice based on this review.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Journal of Child and Family Studies
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    • "A simple, effective, and successful collaborative effort involving the HJAC, the Florida Department of Health (DOH), Hillsborough County Health Department (HCHD), and the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) was established and implemented as part of this NIDA-funded project. Based on the first author's experience at the HJAC (Dembo & Brown, 1994), and discussions with HJAC personnel, DOH testing laboratory staff, and HCHD administrators, a protocol was established involving three major steps (discussed in more detail in Belenko et al., 2008). First, project trained HJAC assessors provided brief STD pre-counseling to newly arrested juveniles. "
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    ABSTRACT: Data were collected on arrested youths processed at a centralized intake facility, including youths released back to the community and those placed in secure detention. This paper reports the results of a test of a structural model involving newly arrested male and female youths' sexually transmitted diseases (STD) test results, urine analysis results for recent cocaine and marijuana use, and self-reported engaging in risky sexual behavior. The across gender, multiple group model involved: (1) a confirmatory factor analysis of these variables, reflecting a latent variable labeled Risk, (2) a regression of Risk on the youths' age, and (3) an examination of the covariance between Risk and the youths' race and seriousness of arrest charge. Results indicate the youths' STD status, drug use, and reported risky sexual behavior are interrelated phenomena, similarly experienced across gender. Age was the only correlate of Risk status that demonstrated a significant gender group difference. The youths' race and seriousness of arrest charges did not significantly affect Risk, regardless of gender. Research and policy implications of the findings are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2010 · Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse
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    ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the interrelationships between risky sexual practices, substance use, and arrest history. The sample consists of 948 newly arrested juvenile offenders processed at a centralized intake facility in 2006. A series of confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling techniques are used to 1) determine if risky sexual behavior, marijuana and cocaine use, and arrest history form a unidimensional latent factor, 2) examine the direct effect of age on the latent factor, and 3) compare the factor structure, as well as the effect of age on the latent factor, across four demographic subgroups based on race and gender. Results provide moderate support for all three research objectives. Important similarities, as well as differences, in the factor structure across the four groups were found. The prevention and intervention implications of the findings, limitations of the current study, and directions for future research are discussed.
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