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Abstract

The American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence recently endorsed IUDs as the clinical contraceptive method of choice among sexually active adolescents. This commentary highlights the ways in which these recommendations reinforce a gender normative notion that contraceptive responsibilities continue to lie squarely with young women, and now adolescent girls. It critiques the absence of guidance from the Committee regarding how to approach both sexual partners equally in discussions of contraception. The reflection also identifies paucity in how to address sexual health among trans/intersexed adolescents and those with complex sexual orientations. Such exclusion has adverse implications, inviting marginalization of young people during particularly vulnerable years of sexual development. Moreover, sexual healthcare among adolescents ushers a poignant transition in the broader healthcare continuum for many young people. This circumstance underscores the immediacy of critical dialogue regarding contraception/sexual health between an adolescent’s new healthcare provider (the primary care physician) and familiar healthcare provider (their pediatrician). Absent strategies that promote equal responsibility for contraception among sexually active adolescents, the Committee’s recommendations have far-reaching consequences for the future of adolescent sexual health(care), and the family physicians who will eventually care for them.

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