Resources: Connecting Public Health and Education to Prevent Adolescent HIV/STIs

Dec 26, 2018 | Samantha Ritter

NACCHO recently completed a project to increase the capacity of local health departments (LHDs) and local education agencies (LEAs) to work in partnership to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among adolescents. Primary goals of the project, which was funded by CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, included (1) increasing collaboration between public health and education partners to support adolescent health, particularly for the prevention of HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy, and (2) increasing community capacity to implement school-based HIV and STI prevention programs related to health education, health services, and safe and supportive environments.

To achieve these goals, NACCHO conducted a number of activities, including conducting workshops/consultations with LHDs from around the country to learn about and consider the role of LHDs in school-based HIV and STI prevention programs and facilitating action planning in four jurisdictions to strengthen LHD-LEA partnerships around adolescent health. As a result of this project, NACCHO developed three resources with the goal of supporting jurisdictions that are interested in undertaking similar work. The resources include the following:

  • Action Planning for Adolescent Sexual Health: A Guide to Strengthening Community Partnerships and Taking Steps to Improve Adolescent Health and Well-Being: The purpose of this document is to provide LHDs and key community stakeholders with an overview of a process to envision, plan, and implement sustainable, community-driven initiatives that prevent HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancies and support healthy sexual development through sexual health education, sexual health services, and safe and supportive environments. The action planning guide details several key steps—informed by NACCHO’s on-the-ground experience with its micro-grant recipients—to convene stakeholders, utilize participatory methods to determine strategic action areas, create an action plan to outline concrete steps toward the implementation of adolescent sexual health initiatives, and develop messages that support the successful engagement of key stakeholders and community leaders.
  • Celebrating Success: Local Health Department and School Partnerships for Adolescent HIV and STI Prevention: Each of the four jurisdictions funded to complete an action planning process to implement school-based HIV and STI prevention activities wrote a success story to share the results of their work, their process, and insights. The intention of this document is to catalyze ideas, partnerships, and new or expanded HIV and STI prevention initiatives in other jurisdictions.
  • The Role of Local Health Departments in Advancing Adolescent HIV and STI Prevention Efforts through School-Based Health Programs: This report highlights key findings and themes from the three workshops/consultations NACCHO held, each of which focused on one of the three CDC-developed school-based approaches for health education, health services, and safe and supportive environments. The report characterizes the role of LHDs in school-based HIV/STD prevention programs, highlights examples of LHDs innovating in the field of adolescent sexual health, and identifies opportunities for LHDs to support LEAs in promoting the health, safety, and well-being of students.

We hope these resources are helpful in your work to improve adolescent health. Please reach out with any questions or ideas for how you intend to use these. For more information, contact Samantha Ritter, Senior Program Analyst for Adolescent Sexual Health, at sritter@naccho.org or 202-756-0162. For additional success stories related to LHD efforts to address adolescent sexual health, check out these “Stories from the Field.”


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