Sexually active adolescents have high rates of STIs and many barriers to prevention and treatment because of developmental immaturity, difficulty with access to health care, and need for confidential care. Serious health consequences of STIs may occur many years after infection, further compounding adolescents' ability to link cause and effect. Nurses who are committed to the challenge of providing services for adolescents to prevent STIs can help by providing access to confidential care and promoting sexual health. High-risk youth require intensive preventive efforts. Nurses are in an ideal position to meet this challenge in their roles as providers, counselors, and sexuality educators in individual health care encounters and in prevention programs in clinics, schools, and community centers. Effective STI prevention programs should apply theories of behavior change, incorporate adolescents' attitudes and beliefs, and solicit input from the adolescents themselves.
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