The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is urging pediatricians to promote and provide condoms for their adolescent patients.
Although the organization still stands by the fact that abstinence is the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI), they are acknowledging that condom use has the ability to cut down disease rates.
The policy statement -- which was last updated in 2001 -- now says that pediatricians and other clinicians should increase the availability of condoms to adolescents by providing condoms in their offices and support condom availability in their communities. It also called on medical professionals to encourage the correct use of condoms and other forms of birth control for sexually active patients, as well as those who are considering initiating sexual activity.
"Since the last policy statement published 12 years ago, there is an increased evidence base supporting the protection provided by condoms against STIs," the authors wrote. "Rates of acquisition of STIs/HIV among adolescents remain unacceptably high."
The AAP suggested that condoms should be available in schools, and sex education programs should continue to teach adolescents about proper sexual health behavior.
The authors mentioned that condom availability has actually been linked to more adolescents waiting to initiate sexual activity. In the studies that were reviewed for the policy statement, 42 percent found that sexual initiation was halted for at least six months when condoms were available. Fifty-five percent of the studies found that education alone had no effect on the age sex was initiated.
The policy statement was published on Oct. 28 in Pediatrics.