The medical consequences of adolescent sexual activity are a national health concern, highlighted by unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Health promotion goals for teenagers include postponement of sexual activity until psychosocial maturity and consistent use of condoms by those who do engage in sexual intercourse.
Although designing effective strategies to accomplish these goals remains a challenge, increased condom use is a realistic, achievable objective. The national public health agenda to reduce HIV transmission emphasizes the need to facilitate condom use as a method of disease prevention. Condom availability programs in schools are receiving widespread attention as a potential strategy to increase condom use by sexually active adolescents. Pediatricians are being asked for advice by school boards and community groups. This statement reviews the pertinent issues related to condom availability in schools and provides recommendations for use in responding to requests for advice.
Sexual behavior of American adolescents has been studied for the past generation. Trend analysis shows increasing rates of sexual intercourse among young people over the past 20 years.1-3 Middle to late adolescence is now the average time for initiation of sexual intercourse. The 1992 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) of 11 631 students in grades 6 through 12 reported that 54% of all high school students were coitally experienced, with 39% having had coitus in the 3 months before the survey. 4,5 Forty percent of 9th graders reported having sexual intercourse, a percentage that increased to 72% in 12th graders.
- Copyright © 1995 by the American Academy of Pediatrics