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AAP Stresses Importance of Making Condoms Available to Teens

Update Date: Oct 28, 2013 04:43 PM EDT

In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Adolescence reported that making condoms available to teenagers is very important. Even though teenagers are encouraged to abstain from sexual acts, simple encouragement does not mean that all adolescents will listen. Therefore, in order to make sure that these children are being safe, they should have relatively easy access to cheap condoms.

The pediatricians behind the report stated that one of the most effective ways to ensure easy access is to provide condoms in school settings. School programs can offer condoms to teenagers in conjunction with sexual education classes that inform teenagers of all the risks involved with unprotected sex. Despite this recommendation, some people are not too keen on the idea of outwardly giving condoms teenagers. The pediatricians of the report stressed that safety is key.

"I think one of the main issues is the idea that if you provide condoms and make them accessible, kids will be more likely to have sex. But really, that's not the case," said Amy Bleakley, from the University of Pennsylvania, who was not a part of the AAP committee. Bleakley studies teen sexual behavior and reproductive health.  "Getting over the perception that giving condoms out will make kids have sex is a real barrier for parents and school administrators."

The report's lead author, Dr. Rebecca O'Brien, added according to NBC News, "The biggest difference is that we have more evidence about how effective they [condoms] are against sexually transmitted infections."

The authors of the policy statement remind the public how effective condoms are in protecting children from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are quite high among teenagers and young women. The report stressed the importance of teaching children how to use condoms correctly. The authors stated that teaching children to use them consistently is vital as well. The pediatricians hope that their policy statement will encourage schools and medical facilities to provide condoms to teenagers.

"Having them available, not just in healthcare settings is really important," O'Brien said. "For teens to use them, they have to have them available, and they're not going to come in necessarily asking for them."

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