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Letter to the Editor

Sexual health risk assessment in adolescents and young people

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Abstract

Letter to the Editor

DEAR EDITOR: I read with interest the article ‘Sexual health risk assessment in adolescents and young people’ by Dr Rix and colleagues in the February 2019 issue of Medicine Today (pages 28 to 34).1 It was a well-written article that will be useful to a wide range of readers.

However, I must point out an important inaccuracy in the section ‘Establish confidentiality’. When dealing with adolescents there are three, not two, exceptions to confidentiality. The third is being harmed by another person. I would like to see the authors rectify this, given the profound impact of child and adolescent sexual abuse.

KATE STEINBECK MB BS, PhD, FRACP
Director of Wellbeing, Health and Youth (WH&Y), NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Adolescent Health, and Medical Foundation Chair in Adolescent Medicine, Discipline of Child and Adolescent Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney NSW.

Reference
1. Rix S, Sammut D, Varma R. Sexual health risk assessment in adolescents and young people. Med Today 2019; 20(2): 28-34.

 

REPLY: Thank you for pointing out this important omission. We provided an example of what a doctor might say to introduce the concept of confidentiality with a young person; this should have included ‘being harmed by another person’ as a third exception to confidentiality.*

SUZANNE RIX BSc, MB BS, FRACGP
General Practitioner and Sexual Health Advanced Trainee
DANIELLE SAMMUT BMSci, MB BS, FRACGP
General Practitioner and Sexual Health Advanced Trainee
RICK VARMA MBChB, MRCP, FAChSHM
Sexual Health Physician, Staff Specialist and Clinical Services Manager
Sydney Sexual Health Centre, Sydney, NSW.

 

* EDITOR'S NOTE: The online version of the article has been updated accordingly.

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