The sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemic among adolescents in the USA is inextricably tied to individual, psychosocial and cultural phenomena. Reconceptualizing the epidemic within an expanded socio-ecological framework may provide an opportunity to better confront its challenges. In this article, we use a socio-ecological framework to identify determinants of adolescents' sexual risk and protective behaviours as well as antecedents of their STI acquisition. The goal is to provide a synthesis of several discrete categories of research. Subsequently, we propose an integrated strategy that addresses the STI epidemic among adolescents by promoting a socio-ecological perspective in both basic research and intervention design. This approach may expand the knowledge base and facilitate the development of a broader array of intervention strategies, such as community-level interventions, policy initiatives, institutionally based programmes, and macro-level societal changes. Although there are inherent challenges associated with such an approach, the end result may have reciprocal and re-inforcing effects designed to enhance the adoption and maintenance of STI-preventive practices among adolescents, and further reduce the rate of STIs.
- Human immunodeficiency virus
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Socio-ecological perspective
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health