The rate of sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing conducted among adolescents at children’s hospitals is subpar and includes particular disparities based on gender, socioeconomic background and race, Reuters Health reports.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health, researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of visits by 14- to -18-year-olds to 45 children’s hospitals between 2015 and 2016. They excluded from their analysis visits that included a billing code for sexual abuse or assault.

Out of 541,714 visits to such hospitals, the adolescents received STI testing in 59,158 (10.9 percent) of the cases. Of those who received tests, two thirds were female, 33 percent were African American and 62 percent had government insurance.

After adjusting the data for various factors, the researchers found that females were 61 percent more likely than males to be tested for STIs, Blacks were 20 percent more likely than whites to be tested and those in the bottom quartile of household income were 21 percent more likely than those in the top quartile to be tested. Compared with 14-year-olds, 15-, 16-, 17- and 18-year-olds were a respective 22 percent, 45 percent, 76 percent and 115 percent more likely to receive an STI test.

STI testing was 60 percent more likely to occur in an inpatient setting than in an emergency department.

Testing of adolescents varied widely between hospitals, with between 3 and 24 percent of adolescent visits including an STI test.

To read the Reuters Health article, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.