It is important for adolescents and young adults to have regular clinical preventive service visits, especially around reproductive and sexual health care. Primary care providers play an important role in counseling teens on various aspects of reproductive and sexual health care; and because sexual behaviors change during adolescence, continued discussions are needed to monitor these changes. Below are resources for providers, adolescents/young adults, and families that can optimize this care. Confidentiality is also a key component to providing this care.
Confidentiality and Consent
Preserving confidentiality for adolescent patients is an important part of the health care visit experience and allows for open communication about sensitive topics. It's important for pediatricians to understand the benefits and limitations of confidentiality, and to allow for private time with the adolescent during the visit. It is also important for pediatricians to encourage their adolescent patients to talk to a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult about their health care needs and concerns.
Consent and confidentiality can be complicated, particularly with difficult decisions that the adolescent and his/her parents/guardians need to make around important issues such as reproductive health, contraception, and teen pregnancy. The AAP has developed guidance around these issues that can help providers navigate this with their patients and their families.
Adolescent Health Toolkit: Includes resources and videos on the importance of providing confidential care.
Sexual Health History
At the beginning of the preventive services visit for adolescents, it is important to take a sexual history. The information gathered will provide the physician with a starting point to guide the discussion about reproductive and sexual health. This history should be taken at least annually and will identify goals for the adolescent, as well as any potentially risky behaviors that could lead to pregnancy or STIs. Below are resources for providers, adolescents/young adults, and parents about the sexual history.
AAP Clinical Guidance for Primary Care Providers
Let’s Talk About Sex Pedialink Module: This module covers the essential components of a sexual health care visit for adolescents and young adults. As part of this module, there are videos on how to take a sexual history.
Guide to Taking a Sexual History: The CDC offers a booklet that outlines how to take a sexual history and the questions that should be asked.
5 Ps of a Sexual History: Questions are provided to ask during a sexual history assessment of adolescents and young adults.
Sexual Health History: This video models key components of conducting a sexual health history.
Follow-up Sexual Health Visit: Models a conversation about concerns raised during a previous visit.
AAP Policy and Clinical Recommendations
Bright Futures Guidelines for Preventive Services: Provides information and guidance on delivery of care.
CDC materials and resources:
Reproductive Health: Contains information and resources on a variety of topics.
Parent Portal: Offers resources for parents to help them talk to their teens about reproductive and sexual health care topics.
Data on Sexual Risk Behaviors: Provides a variety of statistics related to teen and adolescent sexual health that can help pediatricians "make the case" for the importance of sexual health services not only in practice, but also in area-wide schools.
Physicians for Reproductive Health: There are several curricula, resources, and case videos to educate providers on the delivery of reproductive and sexual health care.
Patient and Family Resources
Parent Portal: The CDC offers resources for parents to help them talk to their teens about reproductive and sexual health care topics.
Healthy Children.org: The AAP’s website for parents provides information and resources to assist parents/caregivers navigate their role in their teen’s care and support.
Advocates for Youth: Provides information for youth to help them advocate for their reproductive and sexual health care.
Information for Teens: What You Need to Know About Privacy - HealthyChildren.org
Info Brief for Parents on the Importance of One-on-One Time: This document helps parents understand the importance of their teen’s confidential care and one-on-one time with providers and offers guidance to parents on how they can support their teen’s health.
American Academy of Pediatrics