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Int J Ment Health. 1997 Spring;26(1):23-34.

Adolescent sexual activity.



This article examines epidemiological repercussions and social determinants of adolescent sexual problems in order to effect developmentally sound intervention strategies. It is noted that the proportion of American teens with sexual experience has increased compared with that found in 1970. Adolescents are engaging in sexual activity and with a greater number of partners. Studies indicate that nonsexual dynamics can help explain the reasons behind such an increase in adolescent sexual activity despite self-reported lack of sexual interest. Based on the observations of the authors, exploring attitudes, knowledge, and behavior regarding HIV and contraception can help in designing appropriate health-promoting and preventive measures. Such interventions must focus on postponing sexual activity, but not excluding information and availability of contraceptives for teens choosing to engage in sexual intercourse. These interventions require a neutral location, with trained counselors who present a balanced message regarding sex and discuss with teenagers their motivations and concerns. Moreover, it is important to teach adolescent girls concerning their control over intimacy, sex, and contraception, in turn reduces their risky sexual behavior with their peers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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