October 15, 2014 – Abstinence
Anchor lead: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends first abstinence for teenagers contemplating sex, Elizabeth Tracey reports
Effective contraception notwithstanding, the American Academy of Pediatrics still advocates abstinence as the best method of avoiding teen pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections. Is such a position practical? Maria Trent, an adolescent sexuality expert at Johns Hopkins, offers her opinion.
Trent: I think that the decision to have sex as you are developing your autonomy is a serious one. The one way to prevent a pregnancy and the one way to prevent sexually transmitted infections, HIV AIDS, is to wait until you are sure that you are ready and you’re in a relationship in which you’re happy. Young people are encouraged to wait until they reach that point in their lives. And I think that is consistent with the Academy recommendations. But if people are choosing, I think the Academy is also saying that if people are having sex, we want them to have sex safely. :32
Trent says keeping communication open with adolescents helps them stay ahead of changing needs. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.