Young Rheum Patients Report Gaps in Sexual Health Counseling

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The survey at a pediatric rheumatology clinic shows that many teenagers and young adults on teratogenic medication aren’t being asked by their rheumatologist about their sexual activity. Many aren’t aware that their medication could harm a fetus. The most common diagnoses among participants were juvenile idiopathic arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, and about one third were on teratogenic medication, methotrexate being the most common. Most patients said they were asked about their sexual activity by a healthcare provider other than their pediatric rheumatologist. Many didn’t know their medication could harm a fetus. Rheumatologists need to start discussing these issues early and provide easy access to emergency contraception for high-risk patients.

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