Access to reproductive healthcare for adolescents: establishing healthy behaviors at a critical juncture in the lifecourse

Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2010 Oct;22(5):369-74. doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32833d9661.


Purpose of review: This review summarizes recent research on the topic of adolescents' access to reproductive healthcare, including an overview of recommended reproductive health services, access to the healthcare system and reproductive health specifically, and barriers and emerging service delivery and policy issues in the field.

Recent findings: Recent research confirms the need for diverse healthcare points of access to the reproductive healthcare system for adolescents. It also highlights key policy and service delivery strategies that can improve access to and use of reproductive healthcare among adolescents.

Summary: Access to high quality, confidential, and comprehensive reproductive healthcare is critical to ensuring the overall health of adolescents. Most adolescents are sexually active, and as a result require a wide range of counseling, clinical, and preventive care. The current healthcare system is not adequately structured to meet the diverse needs of adolescents, in particular for reproductive health needs. Continued attention to removing common barriers to care, such as concerns about confidentiality and cost, as well as promoting new screening and delivery strategies, are critical to reducing the incidence of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Contraception / economics
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Medicaid
  • Reproductive Health Services*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • United States