Abstract There are few qualitative studies that assess the experiences and preferences of urban youth with regard to use of primary care. The purpose of this pilot survey was to identify positive and negative influences and underlying issues for adolescents leading to seeking and returning for primary health care. Four focus groups totaling 20 diverse adolescents ranging in age from 13 to 21 years were conducted between April 1994 and June 1994. Participants were recruited through existing peer leadership groups that meet regularly at community health centers or after-school programs. Urban adolescents are most concerned with being respected and treated well by primary care providers. They want to be listened to, to have their problems taken seriously, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Participants expressed strong preferences regarding sex, sexual orientation, and language of providers, but not for race or ethnicity. Qualitative methods such as focus groups give a voice to youth to advocate for access to adolescent-specific health services. Further research is needed to corroborate the results of this study, to expand our understanding of existing problems, and to investigate the predictors of health care use by vulnerable youth.