W. Steven Pray, PhD, RPh; Joshua J. Pray, PharmD Candidate


US Pharmacist. 2003;28(12) 

In This Article


Counseling teenagers about sexual activity has been a controversial subject since sex education began to be widely discussed in the 1960s. Although schools in the past rarely did more than show the obligatory film about reaching puberty, they were increasingly seen in the late 1960s and 1970s as a primary venue for sex education. Predictably, there was a backlash from those who believed that educating teens about sex would encourage them to engage in sexual activity. Of course, this view overlooked the reality that teens have always engaged in sex, courting the consequences of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.[1,2] Rather than encouraging sexual activity, sex education aims to teach teens how to make informed decisions about whether to engage in sex and how to avoid its consequences. By counseling on which methods of contraception are most effective, pharmacists can be an invaluable information resource for sexually active teens.

Regardless of which side one is on in the debate, few would disagree that teens who do choose to be sexually active must be given accurate information on how to protect themselves against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Teens need to understand that the only proven method for preventing these consequences is abstinence, and even if they believe that they are in a committed relationship with a healthy partner, they need to protect themselves against STDs if they are sexually active.


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