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

method, which allows females to start hormonal contraceptives the same day as the doctor's visit regardless of the day of their menstrual cycle. Dr. Allen also stated that because adolescents might have more difficulty taking daily pills consistently, providers should discuss weekly or monthly methods, IUDs and implants.

Going forward, Dr. Forcier, who is part of the Hasbro Children's Hospital Adolescent Health Center and is an assistant professor of adolescent medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, asserted that American medical practices should understand that working with adolescent females is specialized and tailor services accordingly.

"Medical practices that do not differentiate between the needs of adolescents versus children or adults may miss opportunities to provide developmentally appropriate care," Dr. Forcier said, adding that the major task of adolescent development is for the individual to progress anatomically, physiologically, psychologically, sociologically and interpersonally. "Associated behaviors that arise during adolescence often continue into later years, impacting morbidity, mortality and quality of life."

Health care practitioners should honor adolescents' desire for confidentiality and see them one on one, Dr. Forcier continued. Most adolescents, she said, have the psycho-emotional capacity to give informed consent, and it is legally allowable in most states. Title X Family Planning programs and Medicaid, for example, are designed to promote adolescent access to confidential services, including sexual health care.

However, research indicates that only 40% of adolescents ages 12 to 17 reported time alone with their pediatrician, and many fear that confidential health services undermine the relationship between parents and teenagers. That percentage needs to change, the doctors said, because other studies indicate that teenagers will simply stop seeking health care, testing for
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Contact: Susan McDonald
slmcdonald@wihri.org
401-681-2816
Women & Infants Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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