Sexually-active adolescents are clients with special needs for
contraception. Preventing teenage pregnancy and STI / HIV is the
foremost concern. They are eligible to use a variety of the available
contraceptives and age alone does not constitute a medical contraindication.
On the other hand, certain medical conditions (e.g. cardiovascular
diseases) limiting contraceptive use in older women do not apply
to young people. Contraceptive needs of adolescents are required
to adequately provide for infrequent, unpredictable sexual exposures.
There is also a need for privacy and confidentility. They prefer
to use contraceptives which have minimal side-effects, are easy
to use, are cheap and can be bought without much embarrassment.
Adequate counseling is very important for them, so that they are
able to make an informed decision. Information regarding STI / AIDS
should also be imparted during counseling.
Concern regarding the effect of contraception on growth and development
is unfounded. COC, POP -Minipill and barrier methods are more suitable
for adolescents. DMPA injections for under 18 years are not recommended
for fear of hypo-estrogenic effects leading to decreased bone density.
Intra-uterine devices should also be avoided in this group. Adolescents
need to be informed about emergency contraception, as most sexual
activity is unplanned and accidental.