The CDC recently released a new teen-friendly reproductive health services Web page. The page outlines the Elements of Youth-Friendly Contraceptive & Reproductive Health Services developed by the Office of Adolescent Health and CDC's Communitywide Initiatives. These elements focus on systems related to access of care, processes for the delivery of care, use of evidence-based clinical recommendations, costs, confidentiality, supportive infrastructure, and health care delivery environment. The page also includes a downloadable infographic of a teen-friendly reproductive health visit.
Promoting reproductive and sexual health is critical to healthy adolescent development. Key tasks include preventing pregnancy and STIs, and promoting skills and attitudes that allow adolescents to develop healthy relationships. Many adolescent sexual behaviors can have life-long consequences.
- 47.4% of US high school students surveyed in 2011 had ever had sexual intercourse.1
- Each year, more than 400,000 teen girls aged 15–19 years give birth.2
- Nearly half of the 19 million new STD infections each year are among young people aged 15–24 years.1
- Youths accounted for 12,200 (25.7%) of new HIV infections in 2010.3
Preventing teen pregnancy is a winnable battle: the teen birth rate in the U.S. has decreased by nearly 50% between 1991 and 2011.4 Despite this dramatic decrease, teen pregnancy in the US remains high compared to other developed countries, and continues to be a public health priority.
Reproductive and sexual health promotion equips adolescents with skills, knowledge, and positive attitudes in order to make decisions about their reproductive health and life planning, engage in healthy relationships, develop positive identity, and communicate with parents, health providers, and community members. Adolescents who develop these skills are able to make informed decisions and behaviors to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs, make decisions about sexual health care, and to have healthy relationships. Adolescents should have access to affordable and comprehensive service and resources, and have a healthcare provider they can speak with confidentially about reproductive and sexual health questions and issues.
HIV/AIDS, STDs, and unintended and teen pregnancies are preventable through action on the part of state health agencies and their partners. A number of states developed State Sexual Health Plans that provide roadmaps for promoting healthy behaviors and access to appropriate education and health care services for adolescents. These plans are frameworks for implementing programs, policy, and community objectives. The goals of these plans vary, but often focus on addressing a number of important goals: reducing rates of teen pregnancy and subsequent births, STIs, nonconsensual sex, sexual assault, and dating violence. They also aim to address health disparities, and to increase youth access to education and information.
AMCHP Work in Reproductive & Sexual Health
AMCHP currently works to advance adolescent reproductive and sexual health in the states with support from CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH).
AMCHP’s past adolescent reproductive and sexual health projects include:
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexual Risk Behavior: HIV, STD, & Teen Pregnancy Prevention
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing Teen Pregnancy in the US.
3Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Infection, Testing, and Risk Behaviors Among Youths - United States. MMWR November 30, 2012 / 61(47);971-976
4NCHS Data Brief: Declines in State Teen Birth Rates by Race and Hispanic Origin. May 2013.