Ethical and Legal Considerations in STI Treatment for Adolescents
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State and federal laws govern the treatment of adolescents. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, minors can consent to the diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections without supervision of a parent or guardian. The majority of states also permit adolescents to consent to STI treatment. However, a minor’s ability to consent to medical care does not necessarily create confidentiality protections for the care received. Most states leave the decision of parental disclosure and/or notification to the physician. Physicians should use well-established ethical and public health principles and professional consensus statements to guide their decision-making around parental disclosure.
KeywordsConsent Confidentiality State law Federal law Sexually transmitted infections HIV
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