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Clinicians Believe Teens Unlikely to Practice Safe Sex

Only 6 percent to 23 percent believe their patients will use safe sex practices consistently

THURSDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Despite their conviction that teens should be counseled on safe sex practices including monogamy, abstinence and condom use to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, fewer than one-quarter of clinicians believe adolescents will use these methods in the long run, according to a report in the Oct. 20 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In a 2004 survey, 2,958 clinicians who provided routine adolescent check-ups and STD-prevention services reported their opinions on counseling sexually active adolescent patients to prevent HPV infection or related conditions. Most of their patients were female (69 percent) and white (69 percent) with private insurance (53 percent).

While most clinicians (78 percent to 95 percent) said consistent condom use, abstinence, monogamy and limiting number of sex partners were highly effective in preventing HPV infection or HPV-related conditions, only 6 percent to 23 percent believed most of their patients would use safe sex practices consistently.

"Although the majority of clinicians surveyed did not believe that most of their patients would use effective STD-prevention methods long-term, they nonetheless thought recommending these methods was worthwhile," the report states.

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