Adolescent Sexual Health
Adolescence is a critical period of human development marked by significant cognitive, social, and emotional changes. Risk-taking is a hallmark of adolescence, through which young people test out their burgeoning independence while still developing the ability to evaluate consequences.
Part of this risk-taking occurs as young people experience and explore sexual feelings. A large proportion of American youth are engaging in sexual behaviors that can result in HIV, STIs, and unintended pregnancy. Young people aged 13-24 account for more than 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses, and half of the 20 million annual STD infections in the nation occur among youth. Young people of color and LGBTQ+ youth are more likely to be impacted by HIV, STDs, and unintended teen pregnancies and less likely to receive culturally responsive health services and sex education.
Local health departments play a critical role in ensuring that adolescents receive access to developmentally-appropriate and culturally-responsive health services and sex education, and promoting the view that sexual and reproductive health are integral to adolescents’ well-being.
NACCHO works closely with a variety of partners who are leading initiatives to support adolescent sexual health. Check out some of the resources our partners have developed and apply them in your jurisdiction, as appropriate.
- Buffalo Public Schools Condom Availability Program Policy: Condom availability program policy and timeline approved by the Board of Education in Buffalo, NY.
- Project Connect Implementation Guide: CDC-developed resource to support LHD-led, school-based STD screening programs.
- How Schools Work & How to Work with Schools: A NASBE-developed resource for organizations seeking to partner with schools on public health projects.
- Establishing Organizational Partnerships to Increase Student Access to Sexual Health Services: A resource guide for schools and public health partners with sample policies and procedures.
- Developing a Referral System for Sexual Health Services: An implementation kit for schools and public health partners student referrals.