Intended for healthcare professionals


Advice about sexual health for young people

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 13 January 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:107
  1. Caroline Free (, clinical lecturer in epidemiology
  1. Nutrition and Public Health Interventions Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    Local service needs to provide confidentiality, support, time, and information

    The Department of Health has recently updated guidance that clarifies the duty of confidentiality, care, and good practice in providing advice to young people under the age of 16.1 What are the implications of the new guidance for your sexually active 15 year old daughter or son and for your local general practice, contraceptive service, or sexual health service?

    According to the new guidance, if your daughter or son is sexually active he or she can be reassured that any healthcare professional seen for sexual health advice or treatment will maintain confidentiality. They should be aware of this through prominent advertising of confidentiality policies in clinics. All staff at the clinic will receive training regarding confidentiality, and action will be taken regarding any breaches.

    If a doctor or service is not prepared to offer services to people who are younger than 16 this will be prominently advertised in the clinic, with information outlining where and how advice on contraceptives and sexual …

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