BALTIMORE, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- Once American boys reach older adolescence they cease seeing a doctor regularly, meaning sexual and reproductive health needs often go unmet, researchers say.
Dr. Arik V. Marcell, assistant professor of the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said just as teenage boys begin sexual initiation the number of health visits in the primary care setting typically declines, particularly among older male adolescents and there is a shift from routine to more time-limited acute visits involving an illness or an injury.
"Pediatricians are encouraged to address male adolescent sexual and reproductive health on a regular basis, including taking a sexual history, performing an appropriate examination, providing patient-centered and age-appropriate anticipatory guidance, and delivering appropriate vaccinations," Marcell and colleagues said in the study.
"This report discusses specific issues related to male adolescents' sexual and reproductive healthcare in the context of primary care, including pubertal and sexual development, sexual behavior, consequences of sexual behavior, and methods of preventing sexually transmitted infections [including HIV] and pregnancy."
Furthermore, data from outpatient ambulatory medical records show that primary care providers are three times more likely to take sexual health histories from female than male patients and twice as likely
to counsel female patients about condoms, the researchers added.
The findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.