This reference guide was created in 2004 by the American Academy of Family Physicians. It is a reference guide that provides information as a key for health professionsl to ensure that adolescents have access to the health services they need. It includes sexual and reproductive health services information.
- Sexual activity and sexual abuse are not synonymous. It should not be assumed that adolescents who are sexually active are, by definition, being abused. Many adolescents have consensual sexual relationships.
- It is critical that adolescents who are sexually active receive appropriate confidential health care and counseling.
- Open and confidential communication between the health professional and the adolescent patient, together with careful clinical assessment, can identify the majority of sexual abuse cases.
- Physicians and other health professionals must know their state laws and report cases of sexual abuse to the proper authority, in accordance with those laws, after discussion with the adolescent and parent, as appropriate.
- Federal and state laws should support physicians and other health care professionals and their role in providing confidential health care to their adolescent patients.
- Federal and state laws should affirm the authority of physicians and other health care professionals to exercise appropriate clinical judgment in reporting cases of sexual activity.
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