Joint research project identifies limtations of parental consent in HIV, STD studies

The paper, published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health, says giving adolescents access to medical studies is imperative for public health.
The paper, published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health, says giving adolescents access to medical studies is imperative for public health. | File photo
Law and public health experts from Rice and Baylor universities in Texas have published a new paper that could make lawmakers rethink rules requiring parental approval for minors to participate in research of sexually transmitted diseases.

The study suggests that requiring parental permission for adolescents to participate in HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) medical studies serves neither medical ethics nor the interest of public health. Authors of the study address the legal, ethical and policy aspects of granting easier participation in HIV- and STI-prevention research for adolescents. It also looks into strategies for making that access a reality.

The paper, published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Public Health, says giving adolescents access to medical studies is imperative for public health as 26 percent of newly infected victims of HIV are 13 to 24 years old. That makes high-risk adolescent populations a chief concern for medical studies to help those segments avoid sexually transmitted infections.

The study was a collaborative project between medical and biomedical ethicists, health administrators and pediatricians.

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