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The Law and Confidentiality for Teens

Confidentiality means privacy. It means that when you, as a young person, talk with your doctor or nurse about certain issues like sex (STI testing and treatment for patients 12 years and older), drugs, and feelings, he or she will not tell your parents or guardians what you talk about unless you give your permission.

What will my doctor or nurse tell my parents?

According to the laws in the State of Pennsylvania, your doctor or nurse cannot tell your parents or guardians anything about your exam if you're seen for any confidential services. These include care for problems or concerns in the areas of sexuality (pregnancy testing, testing and treatment for STIs, pap smears, etc.), mental health, and substance abuse. You do not need to have your parents' permission for these types of services. For testing and treatment of STIs, you must be at least 12 years old to give permission.

Even though you don't have to ask your parents, it's a good idea to talk with them or another adult you trust about the medical care you need. We want you to be safe! If you have any questions about confidentiality, please ask us.


Some things cannot remain confidential (private). Your health care provider will need to contact someone else to help if you are being abused, physically and/or sexually.


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