March 1980

Condoms for Sexually Active Adolescents

Author Affiliations

Children's Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center PO Box C-5371 Seattle, WA 98105 University of Washington Seattle

Am J Dis Child. 1980;134(3):247-249. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1980.02130150005002

To the individual physician, public health statistics sometimes have a way of seeming so awesome as to appear abstract and remote. In a way, the grim numbers of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are reminiscent of the casualty reports from the Viet Nam War. One recognizes that something large and awful is taking place, but the problem is perceived to be so massive that any control measures attempted would have as much influence as spitting in the ocean. Though the public at large may not appreciate the full dimensions of the teenage pregnancy problem, physicians, and especially pediatricians, cannot hide behind a shield of ignorance. Most of us have daily dealings with the offspring of children who are too young biologically and emotionally to be parents. The most obvious example is the inordinate number of low-birth-weight infants that are born to teenage mothers. Imagine the impact on the