What’s the age the doctor would have to tell your parents for being sexually active?
Great question! First, talking about sex with your health care provider can sometimes feel embarrassing, but it’s super important for your health. It’s great that you’re thinking about how to have this conversation with them!
Your doctor should be dealing with your questions confidentially.
There’s no specific age at which your doctor would have to tell your parents that you’re having sex. What you talk about with your doctor is private and confidential. This means that your doctor should not tell your parents that you’re sexually active, even if you’re a minor (under 18 years old and not yet a legal adult).
In most states, many sexual health services (like birth control and STI testing) are confidential for minors. This means that you can get them without a parent’s permission. However, the specifics of the law depend on where you live. If you live in the United States, you can check out this handy chart from the Guttmacher Institute to see what services are confidential. Or, just ask your doctor!
If you live in New York State, check out this guide from the NYCLU to learn more about what will stay confidential between you and your health care provider.
However, if your doctor is worried that you will hurt yourself or someone else, or you are being hurt, then they legally must share that information.
Ask your doctor about what’s confidential and what’s not. They should be able to tell you under what specific circumstances they would talk to your parents.
It’s understandable that you might feel uncomfortable talking to your parents about sex—most teens are! However, parents can be a great source of support and information as you begin to navigate this new part of life. Your health care provider can help you begin to have that conversation with your parents, if you’re interested! For more tips on how to talk to your parents about sex, read this.
If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC and have more questions, stop by the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for free, confidential, comprehensive care! Our adolescent medicine specialists know all about confidentiality, and can answer any other questions you have.