Sexuality is an important aspect of development during adolescence. The ability to identify and communicate with adolescent who may be at high risk of premature activity is important since sexual intercourse at an early age can have serious short and long-term consequences. An emphasis of confidentiality and an honest appraisal of implications of early sexual activity will enhance discussions about sexual issues with adolescents. Some parents are ill prepared for discussions about sexuality. Having conversations with their adolescent on sexuality may be difficult for them. Many adolescents claim both experience and confidence about sexual issues, they are often ...view middle of the document...
The 500,00 births occurring in adolescent girls, 31,000 occur in girls under fifteen (Shafer & Sweet 1995).
Sexually transmitted diseases have both short and long term consequences. In recent study fifteen to nineteen year olds accounted for twenty-four percent of all reported cases of gonorrhea (Orr, Wilbrant, & Brack 1998). The incidence of chalmydia of infertility is reported to be five to thirty percent in sexually active teenagers (Orr, Wilbrandt & Brack 1998). A DNA study shows human paillomavirus (HPV) or genital warts is present in eighteen to thirty-three percent in sexually active females aged fourteen to twenty-four (Orr, Wilbrandt & Brandt 1998). Racial and socioeconomic differences put some populations at an even higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases. Sexually active African American women are at twice the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease than Caucasian women.
Persons aged thirteen to twenty-one represent one percent of all cases of acquired immuno-deficiecny syndrome (Comerci & MacDonald 1996). Because of the long period between exposure to human immunodefciency virus (HIV), and the people who are seropostive, the number of adolescents who are presumed to be HIV positive is higher than the number living with AIDS. Adolescents with AIDS live predominately in urban areas, and the percentages of youth with AIDS are minorities. There used to be an early belief that HIV transmission was primarily limited to homosexual populations, but in present days heterosexual contact is the mode of transmission in many cases of HIV among adolescents.
Seldom addressed are the psychological and social risks of early sexual intercourse in adolescents. Adolescents who have intercourse at an early age do for several reasons including peer pressure, anger at parents, and sometimes curiosity. They are poorly prepared in these situations to work out healthy patterns of sexual intimacy that allow for open discussions about their needs about contraception and about questions related to normal sexual functioning. Early unsatisfactory sexual experiences, particularly among females, often setup patterns for repeated unsatisfying relationships that continue into adulthood. The cost to self-esteem can be great when sexual favors are traded for dates, affection, and reassurance about physical appearance or peer approval.
There are many social costs of early sexual involvement. Graduation rates from high school are decreased for both males and females that are involved in teenage pregnancy. Only forty percent of girls who leave high school because of pregnancy will graduate from high school. Only two percent of those who give birth before age nineteen will graduate from college by twenty-nine (McCarthy 1995). The decreased family stability for adolescents involved in teenage pregnancies is also a social cost. The developmental tasks when adolescents are confronted with adult problems of parenthood and relationship difficulties have a long...