HealthDay News — In an American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement, published online in Pediatrics, updated recommendations are presented relating to use of barrier methods for adolescents engaging in sexual activity.
Laura K. Grubb, MD, MPH, from the Floating Hospital for Children at Tuft’s Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues updated the 2013 policy statement relating to use of barrier methods to reduce the risk for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and pregnancy.
The authors note that pediatricians should provide screening and anticipatory guidance relating to sexual behaviors and availability and appropriate use of barrier methods. Recommendations include discussion of abstinence from sexual intercourse as the most effective way of preventing STIs and pregnancy, support and encouragement of consistent and correct use of barrier methods and other reliable contraception, promotion of communication between parents and adolescents about healthy sexual development and sexuality, including communication regarding prevention of STIs and use of barrier methods, and removal of restrictions and obstacles to barrier method availability. In addition, pediatricians should advocate for barrier method availability programs, support school barrier method education programs, actively communicate to parents and communities about the importance of making barrier methods available to adolescents, and monitor adolescents using preexposure prophylaxis or nonbarrier contraception.
“It’s important for us as pediatricians to help families encourage teens to take responsibility for their own health,” Grubb said in a statement. “The physician is in a unique position to provide information in a nonjudgmental, safe environment.”