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July 24, 1996

Adolescent Pregnancy

Author Affiliations

Medical Institute for Sexual Health Austin, Tex

JAMA. 1996;276(4):282-283. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540040026023

To the Editor.  —We are confident that Dr Litt's Editorial1 was written with good intentions and that she believes her 3 proposed interventions will decrease adolescent pregnancy and STD. However, they have been tried, and they have failed.Litt's first proposal concerns postponing "initiation of sexual experimentation until psychosocial maturity guides protective behaviors." We are unsure what "psychosocial maturity" means. However, most parents we talk with believe their adolescent children, regardless of age, have not quite "arrived." Two recent studies show that even in stable heterosexual relationships with 1 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected partner, only 50% of the couples used condoms consistently and correctly, despite being informed of risks.2,3 Will adolescents, who do not know the HIV status of their partners and who have a propensity for taking risks, achieve better results?Second, Litt proposes that adolescents receive counseling about methods of pregnancy and STD protection prior to first intercourse experience.