HealthDay News — Pediatricians should be prepared to educate adolescents and young adults regarding sexual development and to promote healthy behaviors in relationships, according to a clinical report published online in Pediatrics.

Arik V. Marcell, MD, MPH, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues discussed sexual and reproductive health care services in the pediatric setting.

The authors note that pediatricians can play a significant role in addressing their patients’ sexual and reproductive health needs, including preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and promoting healthy relationships.

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Adolescents and young adults have the highest rates of STIs, HIV, and unintended pregnancy. Office visits provide an opportunity for presentation of comprehensive education and health care services for adolescents and young adults. Recent research has suggested that there is considerable room for improvement in delivering the recommended services. Pediatricians should be prepared to provide preventive counseling as well as sexual and reproductive health services or referral to a provider who can provide these services.

“The purpose of this clinical report is to assist pediatricians to operationalize the provision of various aspects of sexual and reproductive health care into their practices and to provide guidance on overcoming barriers to providing this care routinely while maximizing opportunities for confidential health services delivery in their offices,” the authors write.

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Marcell AV, Burstein GR, Committee on Adolescence. Sexual and reproductive health care services in the pediatric setting [published online October 23, 2017]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-2858