The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a professional membership organization of 60,000 pediatric doctors dedicated to the health and well-being of infants through young adults, released a report last week calling for increased access to sex education and condoms for adolescents.
The report insists that free or low-cost condoms should be available in locations easily accessible for adolescents – such as schools, pediatricians’ offices, and even malls. “For teens to use them, they have to have them available, and they’re not going to come in necessarily asking for them,” said Dr. Rebecca O’Brien, lead author of the policy statement. “They should be everywhere.”
The report emphasizes that increased access to birth control should be accompanied by comprehensive sex education programs in schools, which are strongly correlated with delayed or reduced sexual activity, a smaller number of sexual partners, and increased use of condoms or other contraceptives. Despite the overwhelming evidence that comprehensive sex education has positive health effects for teens, many states have beenpromoting abstinence-only education programs.
“Some schools have been hesitant to provide young people with programs and access to condoms, and the pediatricians’ strong, clear statement serves as an urgent call for policymakers, school administrators and parents to do everything they can to give teens what they need to stay healthy,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s vice president of education, Leslie Kantor, in a statement celebrating the report.
Media Resources: Reuters 10/28; Guttmacher Institute February 2012; Feminist Newswire 3/21/11, 11/3/11, 7/1/13; Planned Parenthood Federation of America 10/28/13