Fear should not be a barrier to obtaining health care. We strongly encourage open communication between parents and teens. Having said that, we are able to provide a confidential relationship between physician and patient even with our youngest patients. At the beginning of any new adolescent visit, we will review our policy of confidentiality with both parents and teens so that all parties are aware of the nature of this agreement.
Hopefully, this will allow teens to feel safe and to honest with the information they share. Adolescents should know that ALL information exchanged during the visit is legally confidential, with two specific exceptions: if a patient is in danger of hurting herself or another, or in situations of physical or sexual assault to a minor, the agreement is no longer valid and confidentiality will be breeched.
In addition, in the state of Virginia, minors (less than 18 years of age) have the freedom to make reproductive health choices without parental consent. This includes making decisions regarding birth control, pregnancy outcomes, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, etc.
If you have any questions regarding confidentiality, please don’t hesitate to ask.