Adolescents often do not discuss sex with their primary care physicians (PCPs) or parents.

Researchers conducted a survey of 582 adolescents, 13 to 17 years old, and 516 parents of adolescents who were attending the 2017 Minnesota State Fair. They presented their findings at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) 2018 meeting in Toronto.

Forty-five percent of the adolescents said they were not routinely asked about sex by their PCPs. Thirteen percent said their PCPs offered them sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing.

The researchers found that older adolescents were more likely to report being asked about sex or offered STI testing by their PCPs. Girls were more likely to be asked about sex. Nonwhites were more likely than whites to be offered STI testing.

Ninety percent of the parents said they discussed sex with their adolescent children. However, only 39 percent of the adolescents reported doing so with their parents.

Forty-nine percent of the parents said they were aware that their adolescent children had discussed sex with their own PCPs, while 24 percent did not know whether their children did so. Parents were less likely to report having such discussions if their child was younger or if the parents were nonwhite.

Twenty-five percent of the parents felt that PCPs should not discuss sex with their adolescent children.

To read a press release about the study, click here.