An initiative to improve adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH) services underwritten by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has resulted in increased screening for sexually transmitted disease (STD)/ HIV, education on abstinence and use of dual protection, and activities to increase accessibility, such as after-school hours and walk-in appointments. However, less uptake was seen for parts of the program related to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), according to a study published in the Journal of Community Health.
The report assessed outcomes at eight publicly funded health centers in Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina serving communities with teen birth rates higher than the national average where the initiative was undertaken. LARC-related aspects included provider training for insertion and removal; efforts to increase LARC availability; same-day provision of all contraceptive methods; and consistent sharing of information about confidentiality and minors’ rights with adolescent clients.
In total, the study looked at outcomes in 16 practice settings: seven primary care/family practices, four family planning, three pediatric and two ob/gyn. Overall, 45 providers from seven of the eight health centers responded to a baseline survey.
The CDC investigators concentrated on results from four key best practice categories for adolescent sexual and reproductive health (ASRH): structure; tasks for nonclinical staff; tasks for clinical staff; and supportive youth-friendly best services.
For structure, limited training was defined as less than half of the staff being trained in the topic over the past year.