Iowa Title X Clinics Are Not Required to Tell Your Parents/Guardians
As a teen, you can take control of your sexual health without telling your parents. There is a national program available (the national Title X family planning program) for teens to get services like getting birth control, testing for STIs, pregnancy testing, and more. At your visit with your clinician or provider, you are guaranteed to be taken care of without your parents being notified by your clinician or nurse.
Even though Title X allows you to keep your clinic visits private from your parents, your clinic staff will talk to you about healthy ways to approach addressing your sexual health as a teen:
1. How you can involve your parent/guardian in your health
You can receive affordable and private birth control, STI, and related family planning care at Title X clinics. Your provider does not have to notify a parent/guardian before giving you care. In fact, they are not even allowed to tell your parent or guardian that you asked about getting care or help. While this allows you to be independent and have freedom in your sexual health, your provider will also recognize and discuss the fact that your parent(s)/guardian(s) play an important role in your life. If and when it is needed or advised, your provider can help you to involve your parent and/or guardian in making decisions that are healthy.
3. Your provider’s obligation to report abuse or unique situations
Title X clinics are passionately committed to your wellbeing, which is why your provider will be required by law to report any suspicion or evidence of child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, and incest. Though this could feel scary or make you feel afraid, this is a required law that is meant to protect you from further harm. You can always seek help or resources to get out of bad situations through your provider, or visit any of the following websites:
2. How you can have good communication with parents/guardians about your health
Your provider will always do their best to keep open communication with you as their patient. They are also trained in helping you and your parents/guardians to have effective and healthy communication about your health, if you are open to it. While you are not required to discuss your sexual health with your parents/guardians, it is encouraged by doctors because scientific data suggests that teens who involve their parents in these discussions engage in safer sexual practices.
Why it is Important That You Get Private Sexual Health Care
Sexual health care is important in taking care of your overall health.
You have a right to receive services in order to maintain your health and wellbeing, so the Title X program aims to eliminate any reason you may avoid going to a clinic. You should not have to keep your sexual health a mystery or a secret just because you don’t want your parents to find out. That is why you can receive care and information on birth control, receive affordable STI testing and care, get answers to any of your questions, and more at your local Title X clinic.
When you know more, you are empowered to make responsible and mature decisions on your own.
It makes sense that you want to take care of your body in a way that makes you feel in control, safe, and empowered! The private nature of Title X services allows you to do exactly that. As you work with your provider, you can ask questions, learn, and make decisions about how your sexual health might impact your life. Your provider will work with you to answer your questions until you feel confident. The services and topics you can learn about and explore are many! Discuss birth control, how to make sure you don’t get an STI, how to get treatment for an STI, what your options might be for pregnancy, and more.
You should be allowed to lead your own life with confidence.
The more someone understands their sexual health care, the better they can make choices that are healthy and make sense for their lifestyle. We hope that by receiving private sexual health care in a space where you are allowed to ask questions and get information, that you will feel in control and confident to make informed decisions as you mature into adulthood and beyond in regards to knowing your body, your options, and your sexual health.
Where Can I Get Confidential Sexual Health Services?
All Title X clinics across Iowa adhere to adolescent/underage confidentiality guidelines outlined in this post. To find the clinic nearest you, search our clinic locator or contact us for additional questions.
How can I be sure my care is private?
Your Title X clinic will follow the standards described above and will not notify your parents of care, and there are a few further precautions taken that will keep your health care private:
What if my Parent Calls the Clinic?
Under federal law, clinic staff cannot acknowledge you were seen in the clinic or not. Only you can give permission for the clinic staff to talk to anyone else about your care.
If you are on the same health insurance plan as your parent/guardian, it is not unusual that your insurance company will send your parent/guardian a notice that you received health care. In order to avoid this, when you come in without parental knowledge to a clinic, you will not be required to provide your insurance information, and your insurance will not be billed. Instead, you are encouraged to pay what you can out-of-pocket. If you are unable to pay for services, you will not be turned away.
You Control How We Contact You
In order to be thorough in keeping your privacy, we will only notify you via the contact information you give us as your preference. Extreme care is taken to make sure there is no contact with your home. Some clinics may have an option to call you, text you, or allow you to pick up any information in-person.