Contraceptive methods in adolescence

Contraceptive methods in adolescence

D. Apter

The Sexual Health Clinic, Family Federation of Finland,

Helsinki, Finland

Sexual health for adolescents is based on three components:

Recognizing sexual rights, sexuality education and counselling, and confidential

high quality services.

Contraception needs to include prevention of both STIs and

pregnancies. The first option is condoms backed-up by emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception can be taken as a single dose of 1.5 mg levonorgestrel.

Later there is a switch to oral contraceptives or other hormonal contraception

in a longer relationship. Breast, pelvic and genital examination, and routine

laboratory tests are not necessary before starting hormonal contraception. Good

counselling is most essential. Condom use should not be stopped before it is

reasonable certain that the partner is STI-negative. Both the patch and the

vaginal ring have become popular among adolescents. Other alternatives can be

considered in special cases. Improved contraceptive methods do not automatically

lead to reduced numbers of abortions. The prevention of unintended pregnancies

requires a desire to use protection, a good contraceptive method, ability to

obtain the contraceptive method, and ability to use it.

High quality sexual health services for adolescents calls for

special clinics. Unquestionable confidentiality is important. The threshold to

come to the clinic should be low. When adolescent sexuality is not condemned but

sexuality education and sexual health services are provided, it is possible to

profoundly improve adolescent sexual health with comparatively small costs. Each

year new groups of young people mature, requiring new efforts.

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