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March 1997

Sexual Health Contraceptive Needs of Adolescents With Chronic Conditions

Author Affiliations

From the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(3):290-297. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170400076014

Except for the most severely impaired adolescents, youth with disabilities are no less likely to be sexually active than peers. They have the same sexual and marital aspirations as those of peers but feel they are less likely to realize them. They are more likely to receive sexual counseling or sex education from parents. Most sexual problems are learned and result more from isolation than impairment. Most young people with chronic and disabling conditions do not have body image problems. Thus, clinicians need to be able to provide accurate contraceptive guidance as well as sexual health information.

The topic of sexuality in adolescence often is one of difficulty for clinicians and parents alike. When the young adult has a disabling condition, the issues can become even more complex and the discussions even more threatening. For us to be successful as clinicians, we must first confront our own beliefs and bias: