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And while some suburbs are affluent, it’s important to remember that poverty, and the stresses that come with it, also affect many suburban and, especially, rural areas.
Public schools, community agencies, health facilities, youth clubs and activities – all of these must recognize that just as sexuality is a part of everyone’s life so education and training in responsible sexuality should be part of their work as well. Anke Ehrhardt: Your position as a health care provider offers you a unique opportunity to talk about protected sexual behavior. Joyce Hunter: It would be great if all youths had access to accurate, comprehensive information about all aspects of sexuality, including HIV, other STDs, contraception, and sexual orientation.I wouldn’t be so sure that teenagers in cities necessarily have access to all the information and resources that they need.The quality, and even availability, of sex education varies widely.And many urban youths have a lot of other life stressors that also go unaddressed, such as poverty, racism, and other forms of discrimination.Still, you may be right that many urban youths have more opportunities to access the services they need, such as youth drop-in centers, community-based organizations, and school clinics.
Distances are so much smaller in cities that many teenagers can use public transportation to reach a wide range of resources outside of their own neighborhoods, where they are may have greater privacy.
Youths in suburban or rural areas, especially if they are too young to drive or can’t afford a car, may face a great deal of social isolation.
It can also be difficult for them to have the anonymity they may need to, for instance, acquire contraception or try to get support if they are questioning their sexual identity.
Because this is such a sensitive subject, you cannot expect your patients to bring it up on their own.
Instead, it is important for you to give them an opportunity to raise any concerns they may have, and then to take the time to have a discussion about risk behaviors.
One way to approach the issue is to say “Some of my patients wonder whether HIV may be a risk for them. ” By bringing up other people, you make it less about them individually than about a general issue faced by everyone.