Contraception remains an important part of national efforts to reduce adolescent pregnancy in the United States. A number of safe and effective contraceptive methods are available for our youth, including abstinence, barrier methods, oral contraceptives, Depo-Provera, and Norplant. Research over the past few decades has resulted in a variety of oral contraceptives with reduced amounts of hormones and reduced side-effects. A number of methods have received approval by the Food and Drug Administration since the last review in 1980, including emergency contraceptives, depomedroxyprogesterone acetate, and the cervical cap. The use of condoms and vaginal spermicides continues to be recommended for all sexually active adolescents to reduce (not eliminate) the risk for acquiring sexually transmitted diseases. A polyurethane condom is now available, in addition to the latex condom and other barrier contraceptives, including the following: diaphragm, cervical cap, vaginal sponge, female condom and vaginal spermicides. Because of continuing concerns about pelvic inflammatory disease related to intrauterine devices, currently available intrauterine devices are not recommended for most adolescents. Abortion is not considered as a contraceptive method.

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