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Pediatricians support condoms for teens
October 28th, 2013
02:00 PM ET

Pediatricians support condoms for teens

Providing condoms to adolescents has been - and likely will continue to be - a controversial topic. But the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking communities, educators, parents and doctors to step up in making this form of contraception more available to teens.

"Although abstinence of sexual activity is the most effective method for prevention of pregnancy and STIs (sexually transmitted infections), young people should be prepared for the time when they will become sexually active," several doctors wrote in a policy statement published Monday in the organization's journal Pediatrics. "When used consistently and correctly, male latex condoms reduce the risk of pregnancy and many STIs, including HIV."

Teen pregnancy rates are declining in the United States; in 2011, the number of babies born to women aged 15 to 19 was at a record low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, continue to be a problem for this age group. The CDC estimates that people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for half of the 20 million new STI cases that are reported each year.

In the statement, an update from their 2001 position, the pediatricians' organization recommends removing restrictions and barriers that often prevent teens from accessing condoms. Parents should be talking to their teens about sex, the doctors say, and pediatricians can help. The paper's authors encourage their colleagues to provide condoms in their offices and support increasing access in the community. They also recommend providing condoms in schools, in addition to comprehensive sexual education.
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500 kids die, 7,500 injured by guns yearly
October 28th, 2013
11:56 AM ET

500 kids die, 7,500 injured by guns yearly

Some 7,500 children are hospitalized yearly for gunshot wounds, and 500 of them die, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

The study also found a "significant association" between the percentage of kids' gunshot wounds occurring in homes and the percentage of households containing firearms, the AAP said in a statement. Researchers reviewed statistics from the Kids' Inpatient Database from 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006 and 2009, and estimated state household gun ownership using the most recent data available from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Researchers presented this data at the annual AAP conference Orlando on Sunday. The organization represents 60,000 pediatricians and other medical officials.
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