Current Pediatrician Practices in Identifying High-risk Behaviors of Adolescents

Lisa M. Henry-Reid, Karen G. O'Connor, Jonathan D. Klein, Ellen Cooper, Pat Flynn, Donna C. Futterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: In the United States, 15-to 24-year-olds represent ∼14% of HIV cases diagnosed in 2006 and almost 50% of the 19 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported annually. This survey assessed pediatricians' practices regarding preventive health care screening, provision of reproductive health services including HIV and STI screening and counseling, and barriers to providing these services. METHODS: A random-sample mailed survey of 1626 US members of the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2005.A total of 752 completed questionnaires were returned (46% response rate). Analysis was limited to the 468 pediatricians who provided health supervision visits to patients who were older than 11 years. RESULTS: Most pediatricians discussed sexual activity at preventive care visits; similar numbers discuss abstinence (62%), condoms (61%), and STIs (61%) with slightly fewer discussing HIV (54%). Pediatricians occasionally or rarely/never discussed homosexuality/sexual identity (82%). Most (71%) identified adolescents with high-risk behaviors by clinical interviews. Approximately 30% prescribed condoms, 22% distributed condoms, and 19% provided condom demonstrations. Whereas 46% of pediatricians recommended STI tests for all sexually active teens, only 28% recommended HIV testing for this population. Hospital/clinic-based and inner-city practitioners were more likely to prescribe, provide, and demonstrate condoms and recommend HIV/STI tests for sexually active teens. The most frequently identified barrier to HIV and STI prevention counseling was lack of time. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatricians believed it is important to deliver reproductive health services, and most addressed adolescent sexual activity at preventive care visits but did not routinely address homosexuality/ sexual identity. Counseling and testing practices varied by physician characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e741-e747
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Adolescence
  • HIV
  • Prevention
  • Sexually transmitted infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Current Pediatrician Practices in Identifying High-risk Behaviors of Adolescents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this