Raising Teenagers: Teen Sex, Birth Control…What About STD Protection?

as we continue the discussion of all things related to raising teenagers and their sexuality. You certainly don’t want to miss any part of this dialogue now do you? I happened upon a study of how parents feel about their teen daughters’ use of birth control and was very surprised by the results. I know. I know. You don’t want to think of your daughters in that sort of entanglement. Listen anyway because the findings will make you think.

A recent study published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health found that parents of teen girls are more accepting of the use of birth control pills than any other contraceptive method. Now that was a surprise to me. I would have guessed condoms because they provide a high degree of protection against STDs.

In this study, the researchers (led by Lauren Hartman MD) interviewed a sample of 261 parents/guardians of a daughter between the ages of 12 and 17. They then asked these parents which methods of birth control would be most acceptable to them if they learned that their daughters were sexually involved. The researchers found that the parents found oral contraceptives (59%) most acceptable followed by condoms (51%) then injectable contraceptives (46%) followed by emergency contraception (45%) and finally transdermal patches (42%), implants (32%) and IUDs (18%).

These findings have me worried. Are we forgetting to educate our teens about the risk of contracting STDs? Are we now too focused on preventing pregnancy and forgetting about STDs? This study raises all kinds of questions. I hope that parents are talking about sex with their teens and addressing it from all kinds of angles (no pun intended) including pregnancy and STD prevention.