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Open Access Research article

STI service delivery in British Columbia, Canada; providers' views of their services to youth

Cindy L Masaro1*, Joy Johnson2, Cathy Chabot3 and Jean Shoveller4

Author Affiliations

1 RN, MSN – Doctoral Candidate, University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Applied Science/Nursing, 302 – 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada

2 PhD, RN, FCAHS– Professor, School of Nursing, UBC and Scientific Director, Canadian Institute of Health Research, Institute of Gender and Health, 302 – 6190 Agronomy Road, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada

3 MA – Research Manager, School of Population and Public Health, UBC, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada

4 PhD – Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada

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BMC Health Services Research 2012, 12:240  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-240

Published: 6 August 2012



Little is known about service providers’ knowledge, attitudes, and experiences in relation to the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals seeking care for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and how they influence the delivery of services. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of STI care providers and the ways they approached their practice.


We used a qualitative approach drawing on methods used in thematic analysis. Individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 21 service providers delivering STI services in youth clinics, STI clinics, reproductive health clinics, and community public health units in British Columbia (BC), Canada.


Service providers’ descriptions of their activities and roles were shaped by a number of themes including specialization, scarcity, and maintaining the status quo. The analysis suggests that service providers perceive, at times, the delivery of STI care to be inefficient and inadequate.


Findings from this study identify deficits in the delivery of STI services in BC. To understand these deficits, more research is needed to examine the larger health care structure within which service providers work, and how this structure not only informs and influences the delivery of services, but also how particular structural barriers impinge on and/or restrict practice.