This study examined female adolescents' knowledge concerning STDs and transmission, condom use, and health care. It was a cross-sectional study of 90 adolescents living in an area covered by the Family Health Program in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil. Data were collected through household interviews using a structured questionnaire, followed by preliminary analysis of simple frequency of variables. Most adolescents were single, sexually active, and with limited knowledge concerning STDs. Condoms were known as the main means of prevention, but only 35.2% of the sample reported always using them. There was a large drop in condom use (from 71.1% to 37.1%) when comparing the first versus the most recent sexual intercourse. Teenagers did not consider themselves at risk of STDs (65.5%), although 57.8% reported related symptoms and 36.7% had never undergone gynecological examination. The results point to the need for special attention to adolescent health care. The lack of effective protection makes them vulnerable to STDs, including HIV/AIDS, even though they do not consider themselves at risk.
Adolescent; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; Gender and Health