Pediatricians should be aware that some of the youths in their care may be homosexual or have concerns about sexual orientation. Caregivers should provide factual, current, nonjudgmental information in a confidential manner. These youths may present to physicians seeking information about homosexuality, STDs, substance abuse, or various psychosocial difficulties. The pediatrician should ensure that each youth receives a thorough medical history and physical examination (including appropriate laboratory tests), as well as STD (including HIV) counseling and, if necessary, appropriate treatment. The health care professional should also be attentive to various potential psychosocial difficulties and offer counseling or refer for counseling when necessary.
The American Academy of Pediatrics reaffirms the physician's responsibility to provide comprehensive health care and guidance for all adolescents, including gay and lesbian adolescents and those young people struggling with issues of sexual orientation. The deadly consequences of AIDS and adolescent suicide underscore the critical need to address and seek to prevent the major physical and mental health problems that confront gay and lesbian youths in their transition to a healthy adulthood.