While some teenagers choose to postpone having sexual intercourse, many young people make the decision to have sex. At Boston Children's Hospital, our physicians and counselors recommend that parents ensure their child has all the information they need to make safe and informed decisions about their sexual lives, including contraception. Many teens find it difficult to talk to their parents about sex.
- Half of all teenagers from grade 9 to 12 have had sexual intercourse.
- About 1 in 10 teenager girls between the ages 11 and 15 become pregnant each year.
- Effective contraception requires the ability to think abstractly, plan ahead and visit a doctor or clinic.
- As the threat of HIV/AIDS and other STDs increase, condom use has risen. Teens need to understand that birth control pills don't protect against STDs, which is why condom use is always necessary.
- Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent pregnancy.
?It?s important to find teachable moments. For example, if you read an article about a new contraception or hear that sexually transmitted disease rates are going up, start a conversation about safe sex and how well contraception works.?
-- Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, chief of General Pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital
Contraception at Boston Children's Hospital
At the Adolescent/Young Adult Medical Practice at Boston Children's Hospital, contraception is one of our areas of expertise. There are many different contraceptive options that vary in effectiveness and cost, and many teenagers may need guidance to find the best fit for their lifestyle. Our team of physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, nutritionists, HIV counselors and mental health professionals are available to care for the contraceptive needs of young people age 10 to 23.
At Children's, we absolutely encourage parents to talk to their children about sex before they become teenagers or decide to have sex. But we also have plenty of information online that you can point your daughter or son towards. The Center for Young Women's Health Web site and the Center for Young Men's Health Web site are great resources for teens with questions or concerns about sex, contraception, STDs and much more.