OBJECTIVES: To quantify adolescent- and parent-perceived importance of provider-adolescent discussions about sexual and reproductive health (SRH), describe prevalence of provider confidentiality practices and provider-adolescent discussions about SRH topics during preventive visits, and identify missed opportunities for such conversations. METHODS: We used data from a national Internet survey of 11- to 17-year-old adolescents and their parents. Data were weighted to represent the noninstitutionalized US adolescent population. Adolescents who had a preventive visit in the past 2 years and their parents reported on perceived importance of provider-adolescent discussions about SRH topics: puberty, safe dating, gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual decision-making, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, methods of birth control, and where to get SRH services. Adolescents and parents reported whether they had ever discussed confidentiality with the adolescent’s provider. Adolescents reported experiences at their most recent preventive visit, including whether a provider spoke about specific SRH topics and whether they had time alone with a provider. RESULTS: A majority of adolescents and parents deemed provider-adolescent discussions about puberty, sexually transmitted infections and HIV, and birth control as important. However, fewer than one-third of adolescents reported discussions about SRH topics other than puberty at their most recent preventive visit. These discussions were particularly uncommon among younger adolescents. Within age groups, discussions about several topics varied by sex. CONCLUSIONS: Although most parents and adolescents value provider-adolescent discussions of selected SRH topics, these discussions do not occur routinely during preventive visits. Preventive visits represent a missed opportunity for adolescents to receive screening, education, and guidance related to SRH.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE: The authors have indicated they have no financial relationships relevant to this article to disclose. FUNDING: Supported by cooperative agreement U48DP005022-04-05 (Dr Sieving, principal investigator), funded by the Prevention Research Center Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by funds from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services (T71MC00006; Dr Sieving, principal investigator). POTENTIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST: The authors have indicated they have no potential conflicts of interest to disclose. COMPANION PAPER: A companion to this article can be found online at www.pediatrics.org/cgi/doi/10.1542/peds.2020-049411.
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