The AAP gets it right on condoms and teens

From Tara Culp-Ressler:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), a leading doctors’ group representing about 60,000 pediatricians across the country, is encouraging schools to make sexual health resources more readily available to teens. In a new policy statement published in the Pediatrics journal, the group points out that condoms should be accessible in high schools so students don’t necessarily have to ask for them.


While teen births have been steadily declining over the past several years, the U.S. still has the highest rate of sexually transmitted infections of any other country in the developed world. And the AAP pointed out that the nation’s STD epidemic is largely fueled by teens: young people between the ages of 15 and 24 acquire nearly half of all new sexually transmitted infections.

It also turns out that teens are only likely to use condoms if they’re easy to get. You need to make it really, really simple for them. So what’s the problem? There are still people who think that giving kids protection will somehow induce them to have sex. But that’s not the case:

AAP researchers pointed out that there’s still some resistance to making condoms available to teens, largely because people assume that will encourage a greater number of adolescents to become sexually active. That’s not actually the case, though. Research has found that providing youth with contraceptive resources makes it more likely that they will practice safe sex, but doesn’t increase their sexual activity.

Oh, and by the way, condom use is significantly increased if kids are given comprehensive sex education. I’m just saying.


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