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June 28, 1995

The Adolescent ViewpointImplications for Access and Prevention

Author Affiliations

From George Washington University School of Medicine, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Dr Cheng), and University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY (Dr Klein).

JAMA. 1995;273(24):1957-1958. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520480077044

Although most adolescents are healthy, adolescence is the age group in which mortality rates have increased most dramatically in recent decades.1,2 Many engage in risky behaviors that can affect their health. Unintentional injury, homicide, and suicide are the leading causes of death for teens, and as many as one in four adolescents are at risk for substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, early unintended pregnancy, and school failure.3,4 These preventable health problems make the availability of certain health services—including reproductive health services, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted disease and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and mental health and substance abuse services—critically important for this age group. When these services are not accessible to youth, the result is missed opportunities for prevention.

See also p 1913.

Although American adolescents face major threats to their health, formidable barriers exist in seeking care. Adolescents and young adults have the lowest rate of

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