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• Many sexually experienced adolescents (57% of males and 43% of females) did not receive formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex; fewer received instruction about where to get birth control (31% of males and 46% of females).
• Leading public health and medical professional organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Public Health Association, the Institute of Medicine, the American School Health Association and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, support a comprehensive approach to educating young people about sex.
• Within each state, relatively few high schools offered instruction on HIV, STDs or pregnancy prevention specifically relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth in 2014; the proportion ranged from 11% in South Dakota to 56% in Vermont.
Adolescents may receive information about sexual health topics from a range of sources beyond formal instruction.
The first dedicated federal funding stream for evaluation of adolescent sexual health programs was established in 2010 and has contributed to improvement in the quality and quantity of evaluation research.• Both the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that physicians provide confidential time during adolescent primary care visits to discuss sexuality and counsel their patients about sexual behavior.• Many health care providers do not talk with their adolescent patients about sexual health issues during primary care visits.• “Abstinence education” programs that promote abstinence-only-until-marriage—now termed “sexual risk avoidance” by proponents—have been described as “scientifically and ethically problematic.” They systematically ignore or stigmatize many young people and do not meet their health needs.• Proponents of “sexual risk avoidance” programs have appropriated the terms “medically accurate” and “evidence-based,” though experts in the field agree that such programs are neither complete in their medical accuracy nor based on the widely accepted body of scientific evidence.