Objective: To review factors associated with adolescent condom use for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Data sources: Thirty-six references on adolescent development, STDs, STD risk factors, and factors influencing condom use among heterosexual adolescents.

Study selection: Twenty-two research articles addressing issues influencing condom use by heterosexual adolescents.

Data synthesis: This review identifies unique risk factors related to adolescents and their risk for STDs, barriers to and facilitators of condom use, and suggestions for health care providers to increase condom use among adolescents.

Conclusions: Although research on condom use among adolescents has inherent difficulties, current findings, along with reported high rates of STDs in this population, indicate infrequent and inconsistent condom use. Many factors contribute to the motivation for condom use and should be assessed individually. Using the Health Belief Model as a theoretical framework, health care providers can guide the adolescent to make realistic risk assessments and identify positive ways of incorporating condoms into their sexual lives. Further research then must be conducted to test the effectiveness of this approach.