Resources to Put Youth and Doctors More At-Ease Talking About Sexual Health

A doctor talking to a teen.

Talking about sexual and reproductive health can be awkward for young people. For teens who have been abused, or simply haven’t talked to a doctor yet about sex or relationships, those conversations can be especially uncomfortable. 

Online materials are out there to help youth and their healthcare providers feel better-prepared for upcoming visits. Here are a few resources you can share with young people in your program or with local clinics and doctors’ offices.

  • Health assessment tool for young men: This two-page health self-assessment (PDF, 795KB) from the American Sexual Health Association, School-Based Health Alliance, Healthy Teen Network, and Partnership for Male Youth encourages youth to list concerns they may have and begin thinking about commonly asked questions related to their physical, mental, and sexual health. The four organizations also released a companion guide for health practitioners (PDF, 251KB) to help them build rapport and address important issues in young men’s lives.
     
  • Information on young women’s first pelvic exam: This informational page from the Center for Young Women’s Health helps readers know what to expect during their first trip to the OB-GYN. Young women can learn the different reasons they may need a pelvic exam earlier than their friends, what to expect during their visit, and the types of medical instruments they may see in the exam room.
     
  • Best practices guide for doctors: New York City’s Young Men Initiative offers a seven-page guide (PDF, 2.0MB) for physicians providing sexual and reproductive health care for teens. The online resource outlines core criteria and provides key recommendations around six issues, including maintaining confidentiality, building staff capacity, and removing barriers to care.
     
  • Youth-friendly health website: Offered through the Nemours Children’s Health System, the TeensHealth website includes a section on sexual health that covers topics like breast exams, pap smears, testicular exams, and more. Articles are written specifically for young people and offered in both English and Spanish.

Want more information? Discover four websites that can help you navigate information about sexually transmitted infections. You can also learn about state laws and policies that impact minors' access to sexual health services.

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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