Adolescent Female Sexual and Reproductive Health
The majority of sexual and reproductive health care services provided in the primary care setting for adolescents are focused on the female population. It is important for primary care providers to discuss key information with their female patients in an effort to encourage safe and responsible sexual behaviors and growth.
The CDC provides data on sexual risk behaviors, pregnancy prevention, STIs, and HIV among youth to increase awareness about the prevalence of these outcomes.
A key part of providing comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care is encouraging sexuality education within the primary care setting, in schools, and at home with a parent/guardian or another trusted adult. The AAP has a clinical report that guides providers on how to approach sexuality education.
During the transition between childhood and adolescence, health care providers should be conducting key examinations and screenings for their female patients. The AAP developed guidance to assist primary care providers in providing this care.
Menstruation in girls and adolescents: Using the menstrual cycle as a vital sign is a policy developed jointly with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Menstrual management for adolescents with disabilities is a policy developed jointly with the North American Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology to address the special needs of young women with disabilities.
Providing confidential care is an essential part of sexual and reproductive health care for young female patients. It's important that primary care providers know their state's confidentiality and consent laws when caring for adolescents. The Guttmacher Institute provides a state-level overview of minors' consent laws.
The Center for Adolescent Health and the Law has also developed key publications on consent and confidentiality
The AAP developed policy around privacy within the electronic medical record as well as within the health care billing and insurance claims systems.
The AAP and other healthcare organizations have developed
policy and guidance around reproductive health care for young females, including contraception and pregnancy prevention.
For Patients and Families
Discussing sexuality and reproductive health issues can be difficult for adolescent females and their parents. There are many changes that occur during the transition from childhood to adolescence and it's important for young women to understand how these changes can affect their sexual health and behaviors.
Consent and Confidentiality
A young person should understand her rights regarding receipt of confidential health care services and those services for which consent can be given without a parent's approval. Here are some resources that explain these rights and the laws that govern them:
The San Francisco-based Adolescent Health Working Group, a coalition of youth, adults, and agencies, aimed at advancing the health and well-being of youth and young adults, has created resources for parents and youth/young adults on healthy sexuality, including consent and confidentiality provisions.
The AAP has published brochures for patients and families around sexuality, including: