Gainesville, Florida – November 20, 2013 – The recent policy statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics urging pediatricians to distribute condoms to their adolescent patients is misguided, unfounded, and potentially harmful to the sexual and mental health of America’s young people.
The statement justifies condom distribution by advocating the myth of “safe sex”. The unrelenting exponential rise in sexually transmitted infections in nations like Spain, which has among the highest adolescent condom use rates, proves that condoms do not reduce risk of STI spread nearly enough. We know from studies in Britain that free oral contraception and free emergency contraception, let alone distribution of condoms, do not lower teen pregnancy rates.
College Vice President, Dr. Michelle Cretella stated, “Even if condoms were close to 100% effective in this regard, they do not cover the mind or the heart.”
Sexual debut during adolescence has been conclusively established as an independent risk factor for depression as well as suicidal ideation among teens. Promiscuous sexual activity has grave consequences. The best neuroscience available indicates that adolescent brain development is not fully mature until the mid-twenties. The distribution of condoms sends a mixed message. Adolescents need to be given clear information about the most healthful behaviors: Delaying sexual debut is best and is achievable. The American College of Pediatricians encourages physicians to educate their adolescent patients on the benefits of delaying all sexual activity until marriage.