A pilot study to assess candidacy for emergency contraception and interest in sexual health education in a pediatric emergency department population
OBJECTIVES: The objective of the study was to assess potential candidacy for hormonal emergency contraception (EC) and desire for sexual health education among female adolescents presenting for care to a pediatric emergency department (ED).
METHODS: We used an anonymous, cross-sectional, written survey of girls aged 15 to 19 years seeking care in an urban, children's hospital ED. The survey included questions about personal sexual history and desire for sexual health education about sexually transmitted infections and contraception options.
RESULTS: One hundred thirty-four patients were eligible for participation; 77 (57%) consented and completed the survey. The mean age was 16.6 years. Fifty-six percent reported ever having had sexual intercourse. Of those, 6 (14%; confidence interval, 5%-28%) stated that they had unprotected sexual intercourse within the previous 5 days. When asked about their interest in sexual health education in the ED, 48% of all subjects wanted information about sexually transmitted infections, 36% wanted information about HIV, and 34% wanted information about preventing pregnancy.
CONCLUSIONS: Among sexually active adolescents seeking care in an urban, children's hospital ED, a significant proportion could potentially utilize EC if they so chose. Furthermore, adolescents with and without a history of sexual activity expressed interest in learning about sexual health issues in the ED setting.