According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adolescents 15 to 24 years old make up just over one-quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) reported each year. These inequities are directly related to an absence of education and limited access to care, testing and treatment options.
When tasked with preventing and treating STDs in adolescents and teens, pediatric primary care providers face significant hurdles. Poverty, geography, policies that limit access to education, reduced access to healthcare and more all must be considered when treating vulnerable patients in this population.
Listen to a gynecology expert talk about treating adolescents with STDs
Eliza Buyers, MD, of the Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Department at Children's Hospital Colorado, returns to Charting Pediatrics to provide practical tools for preventing and treating sexually transmitted diseases and infections in teens.
Dr. Buyers is our first ever repeat guest. Her knowledge of teen reproductive health is inspiring and insightful. She explains why it's so important for pediatric providers to create a safe and nonjudgmental space when treating STDs in teens, how rewarding it feels to be a trusted adult that patients can turn to and so much more. Her expertise and insights are valuable to any provider working with adolescents and teenagers.
In this episode, our expert explains:
- Why STD rates are higher in adolescents and young adults
- How primary care providers can address teen reproductive health challenges
- How to most effectively treat and help prevent STDs
- Why we need to consider age as the primary risk factor for STDs in teens
- The issue of STD rates as a health disparity in adolescents
- The importance of conducting universal screening in sexually active teens
- Expedited partner therapy (EPT) and its importance
- The recommended STD and HIV screening periods for different youth populations
- Screening guidelines for STD examinations in the absence of symptoms
- The best ways to approach one-to-one time with teen patients
- Importance of promoting condom use to prevent STDs in teens
- When to consider screening for less common STDs
- Why it's crucial to know where you can send patients for confidential STD screening
STD management resources for pediatric providers
During this podcast episode, Dr. Buyers shares several resources for pediatric providers. One of her favorites is the CDC STD treatment guidelines mobile app, which can be downloaded right onto a smartphone. She also recommends reviewing the CDC STD treatment guidelines for special populations.
If you are looking for resources to share with families on the topic of STDs and reproductive health, this article from the experts at Children's Colorado will be helpful:
Preventing and treating STDs in teens at Children's Colorado
Adolescents and teenagers who have an STD, or who have an increased risk of developing one, are seen by the expert providers in our Adolescent Medicine Department and our Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology Department. Our pediatric physicians offer a wide range of services for the diagnosis, treatment and management of STDs. Refer a patient to Children's Colorado.