Adolescent sexuality: a developmental milestone or risk-taking behavior? The role of health care in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2000 Aug;13(3):119-24. doi: 10.1016/s1083-3188(00)00045-0.


Of the many perspectives from which one can view teenage sexual activity, the most evident are as a normal developmental milestone in the life of the adolescent, or as risk-taking and possibly health-compromising behavior. Since unfortunately, knowledge about sexuality, reproduction, and contraception is often acquired after sexual activity has begun, the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) should be given high priority in health care and in education. The role of sex education has been a controversial issue for years and communication within the family vis-à-vis the teenager's decision to use contraception is often difficult both for the parents and for the adolescent. In the areas of adolescent sexual behavior, sex education, contraception, and counseling, it is imperative and of paramount importance that the health-care system focus on this target group.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adolescent Health Services*
  • Adult
  • Contraception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / prevention & control*