Abstract To the individual physician, public health statistics sometimes have a way of seeming so awesome as to appear abstract and remote. In a way, the grim numbers of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are reminiscent of the casualty reports from the Viet Nam War. One recognizes that something large and awful is taking place, but the problem is perceived to be so massive that any control measures attempted would have as much influence as spitting in the ocean. Though the public at large may not appreciate the full dimensions of the teenage pregnancy problem, physicians, and especially pediatricians, cannot hide behind a shield of ignorance. Most of us have daily dealings with the offspring of children who are too young biologically and emotionally to be parents. The most obvious example is the inordinate number of low-birth-weight infants that are born to teenage mothers. Imagine the impact on the References 1. Dryfoos JG: The incidence and outcome of adolescent pregnancy in the United States . J Biosoc Sci , (suppl 5) , 1978, pp 85-99. 2. Kantner JF, Zelnik M: Contraception and pregnancy: Experience of young unmarried women in the United States . Fam Plann Perspect 5:21-35, 1973.Crossref 3. Ryde-Bloomquist E: Contraception in adolescence: A review . J Biosoc Sci (suppl 5) , 1978, pp 132-157. 4. Gabrielson MO, Goldsmith S, Stangeland S: Dalkon shield and the young nulliparous patient: Eighteen monthly experience . Adv Planned Parenthood 8:138-143, 1973. 5. STD Fact Sheet, 1978 , ed 34, publication CDC 79-8195. US Dept of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1978, p 22. 6. Non-reported sexually transmitted diseases: United States . Morbidity Mortality Weekly Rep 28:61-63, 1979. 7. Corey L: Clinical course and epidemiology of genital herpes , in Holmes KK, Wiesner P (eds): Non-gonococcal Urethritis and Other Selected Sexually Transmitted Diseases of Public Health Importance. Bull WHO , to be published. 8. Nahmias AJ, Visintine AM: Herpes simplex , in Remington JS, Klein JO (eds): Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant . Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1976. 9. Johnson JWC: Gonorrhea in the female , in Rovinsky JJ (ed): Davis Gynecology and Obstetrics . New York, Harper & Row Publishers Inc, 1974, vol 2, chap 59. 10. Eshenbach DA, Holmes KK: Acute pelvic inflammatory disease: Current concepts of pathogenesis, etiology, and management . Clin Obstet Gynecol 18:35-56, 1975.Crossref 11. Felman YA: A plea for the condom, especially for teenagers . JAMA 241:2517-2518, 1979.Crossref 12. Arnold CB, Cogswell BE: A condom distribution program for adolescents: The findings of a feasibility study . Am J Public Health 61:739-750, 1971.Crossref 13. Hatcher RA, Stewart GK, Stewart F, et al: The Condom: Contraceptive Technology 1978-1979 . New York, Irvington, 1978, pp 85-88. 14. Camus A: The unbeliever and Christians: Fragments of a statement made at the Dominican Monastery of Latour-Maubourg in 1948 , in Resistance, Rebellion, and Death . New York, Modern Library, 1960.
American Journal of Diseases of Children – American Medical Association
Published: Mar 1, 1980