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January 2016

Parent-Adolescent Communication About Contraception and Condom Use

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, Silver School of Social Work, New York University, New York
JAMA Pediatr. 2016;170(1):14-16. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.3109

A significant number of sexually active youth experience poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and human immunodeficiency virus infection.1 Nearly half (47%) of all high school students in the United States have ever had sex and more than one-third (34%) are sexually active.1 Every year, more than 600 000 pregnancies occur among teens,2 and approximately half of all new sexually transmitted infections are attributed to youth aged 15 to 24 years.3 Youths who are racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities are disproportionately affected by these negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes.3 Public health efforts have targeted adolescents through a variety of prevention strategies, including efforts to strengthen parent-adolescent communication about sexual behavior.4 Extensive scientific literature suggests that parents play an important role in shaping sexual behavior among adolescents. However, there is a tendency in this research to prioritize delaying adolescent sexual debut, with less attention devoted to correct and consistent condom and contraceptive use.5

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