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Thirty-nine percent of adolescents reported discussions with physicians about how to avoid getting acquired immunodeficiency syndrome from sex, 37% about using condoms for vaginal intercourse, 13% about how to use condoms, 15% about the adolescent's sex life, 13% about how to say no to unwanted sex, and 8% about sexual orientation. In addition, 8% of adolescents had been given a condom by a physician. Adolescents were more likely to report most of these topics if they had ever had vaginal intercourse or if they had a regular physician. Most adolescents (80%-90%) would find it at least a little helpful to talk with a physician about various sexual matters. Most would trust a physician to keep secret that they asked questions about sex (75%), that they were having sex (65%), or that they were using contraception (68%). Fewer would trust physicians to keep secret a sexually transmitted disease (44%) or pregnancy (44%). For adolescents who knew that physicians in their state do not have to tell parents about sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy, levels of trust rose, but only to 54%.

Originally published in: Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, v. 150, no. 9, September 1996, pp. 906-913.

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