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J Adolesc Health. 2005 Sep;37(3):236-42.

Evaluating a teen STD prevention Web site.

Author information

  • 1The American Social Health Association, Durham, North Carolina 27709, USA.



Teens are at higher risk than other age groups for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) because of biological and behavioral risk factors, but they have few STD prevention resources. Little is known about how teens use the Internet to seek this information. A pilot study was conducted to measure audience and information-seeking characteristics of the Web site.


In addition to a formative content analysis and a usability study, an online survey was designed, pilot tested, revised, and launched for three months. This paper briefly describes the first two formative study components, and then focuses on the online survey.


The content analyses and the usability tests were useful for revising the site content and aesthetics and preparing the online survey. Fewer than half of all participants (N=3,489) were between 13 and 17 (n=1,242), the intended site demographic. Most accessed the Internet from home. The most frequent topic of interest was sexual expression, followed by teen sexuality, virginity, relationships, contraception, and then STD information and these varied by age and gender.


Methods and findings will assist researchers, Web site developers, and health educators to refine these evaluation methods, develop effective Web sites, and tailor STD prevention messages by age group and gender. The Internet is a cost-effective method for educating teens and those who care for or work with teens about STD risks and prevention, however, more research is needed to assess the behavioral effects of online interventions.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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