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Researchers: Sexually active teens need confidential health care
Date:3/24/2011

After reviewing existing research regarding the common practices of health care providers who see adolescent patients across the country, Rebecca Allen, MD, MPH, a clinician and researcher at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, and her colleague, Michelle Forcier, MD, MPH, an adolescent medicine specialist at Hasbro Children's Hospital, asserted that the nation needs to offer more confidential care for teenagers who are sexually active.

This includes access to effective contraception, noted the doctors in the paper "Adolescent Sexuality and the Use of Contraception," which was published in a recent issue of the professional journal SRM: Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause.

"With almost half of teens in high school being sexually active, effective contraception screening and counseling is a critical component of adolescent health visits," explained Dr. Allen, who is affiliated with Women & Infants' Contraceptive Consult Clinic and is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

"Given the high rate of unintended adolescent pregnancies in the United States, effective adolescent contraception continues to be an elusive goal."

Forty-six percent of American teens aged 15 to 19 have had sex at least once, and 20% have had sex by the age of 15. Although 83% of females and 91% of males report using contraception, approximately 750,000 teens aged 15 to 19 become pregnant each year. This rate is 2 to 4 times higher than the birth rates among adolescents in such developed countries as Great Britain, Sweden and France where more adolescents use contraception.

"Counseling adolescents about using contraception and ensuring access to contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is critical," Dr. Allen said.

The article includes tips for promoting contraceptive success in adolescents, including the use of the "Quick Start"
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Contact: Susan McDonald
slmcdonald@wihri.org
401-681-2816
Women & Infants Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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