Addressing sexual and reproductive health in adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities

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Abstract

Purpose of review

This review provides support for promoting the sexual health of adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities, and particularly those with intellectual disabilities. It offers guidance for pediatricians on incorporating counseling on sexuality and reproductive healthcare, socially appropriate behavior, and sexual abuse prevention for adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities into healthcare visits. Additionally, it provides resources for developmentally appropriate sexuality education in the home and community to allow access to the comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare patients deserve.

Recent findings

Adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities often do not receive developmentally appropriate sexual health education, and this is associated with poor sexual health outcomes and increased rates of sexual abuse in this population.

Summary

Pediatricians should discuss sexual health with all patients, including adolescents and young adults with developmental disabilities. They are well suited to provide sexual health education and inform families about appropriate sexual health resources.

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