This “Issues at a Glance” piece from Advocates For Youth discusses that young people gain more from an experience when they are directly involved in program development/sexual health programming. This article also provides effective tips on implementing youth involvement. Some of their findings include:
- Programs for youth developed in partnership of youth and adults:
- build young people’s skills, reduce their sexual risk-taking behaviors
- benefit the youth who help to develop the program
- have a greater impact on the young people served
- Encouraging youth participation allows the organization to gain a more credible and a honest perspective of young people’s needs
- Encourages adults to adopt the attitude of viewing Youths as Partners rather than Youths as Objects or Youths as Recipients
Citation: Klindera, K. & Menderweld, J. (2001). Youth involvement in prevention programs. Advocates for Youth. p. 1-4
Link to article in English.
Link to article in Spanish.
Link to article in French.
This issue of the Transitions newsletter, published by Advocates for Youth, focuses on community participation to diagnose the causes of a community health problem and to actively engage in creating, implementing, and evaluating strategies to address the problem. The newsletter defines community participation, describes the pros and cons, includes tips for adults partnering with youth, youth partnering with adults as well as tips to effectively facilitate community participation.
Some notable quotes from the newsletter:
- “Youth do not live in a vacuum, independent of influences around them. Rather, social, cultural, and economic factors strongly influence young people’s ability to access reproductive and sexual health information and services. To improve young people’s sexual and reproductive health, therefore, programs must address youth and their environment.” (p. 3)
- “Community participation occurs when a community organizes itself and takes responsibility for managing its problems. Taking responsibility includes identifying the problems, developing actions, putting them into place, and following through.” (p. 4)
Citation: Advocates for Youth. (2002). Community participation partnering with youth. Transitions. Vol. 14., No. 3., p. 1-19.
Link to newsletter.
Advocates for Youth over the years to ask, “How can I be more helpful, more open, and more sensitive to the sexual health needs of my patients, especially teens and their parents?” This resource offers some suggestions and tips for physicians that help facilitate communication about sexual health with teens and parents.
Some tips include:
- “Recognize that teens may find it hard to keep an appointment before 3:30 pm. Offer late hours for teens at least one day a week and/or hours on Saturday.” (p. 1)
- “Many teens may be engaging in oral and/or anal sex to remain “virgins,” to avoid pregnancy, or because they don’t realize these are forms of sexual intercourse. Be precise when you ask whether teens are having sex and make sure teens understand that vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse carry risks for STIs, including HIV.” (p. 1)
- “Inquire about teens’ sex education. Don’t assume they know about safer sex or reproduction. The current public school climate is often one of censorship. Teens may have learned only exaggerated failure rates of condoms and other contraceptive methods and misinformation about side effects, relationship to cancer, and fertility problems.” (p. 1)
Citation: Huberman,B. (2002). Tips for health care providers: Helping teens and patents with sexual health needs. Advocates for Youth. p. 1-2
Link to “Tips for Health Care Providers.”
Librarians have a unique opportunity to help parents, educators and teens obtain age-appropriate, medically accurate and culturally relevant information and resources they need to be informed about sexual health. For some, a library may be their only source of information.
Advocates For Youth complied a list of print, audio, and web-based resources addressing sex and health especially for youth. Librarians can use this list as a tool to aid young people in finding resources available when seeking sex and sexual health information.
Citation: Ratner, J. & Huberman, B. (2006). The librarian’s guide to sex education resources. Advocates For Youth. p. 1-89.
Link to web resources.
This article, published by Advocates for Youth, focuses on the risks that young women who have sex with women (YWSW) face. It is often assumed that YWSW are at little or no risk for HIV, other STIs and unintended pregnancies when in fact, YWSW can be at risk for all three.
Interesting data and statistics include–
- “Some women who have sex with women are uncomfortable with routine gynecological care, including PAP smears and STI screening.”
- “98% of the 347 women who reported having sex only with other women also reported other risk behaviors, such as injection drug use.”
- Many YWSW also have sexual intercourse with men, including men who have sex with other men.
Health care providers and researchers take incomplete sexual histories and often overlook YWSW altogether. There is a lack of prevention messages targeted towards these youth and an assumption that YWSW are “too young” to identify as lesbian or participate in risk behaviors.
Tips and recommendations are included to facilitate the improvement of health care of YWSW and target their health needs.
Citation: Gilliam, J. Young Women Who Have Sex with Women: Falling through the Cracks for Sexual Health Care. (2001). Advocates for Youth-Issues at a Glance.
Link to PDF of “Young Women Who Have Sex with Women: Falling through the Cracks for Sexual Health Care”
This pdf from Advocates for Youth is a handy guide for creating safe space for GLBTQ youth. These youth face all types of harassment and challenges. Research shows that homophobia and heterosexism greatly contribute to GLBTQ youth’s high rates of attempted and completed suicide, violence victimization, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and HIV associated risky behaviors. This toolkit discusses some of the tremendous difficulties GLBTQ youth face today, as well as how people can help create areas where GLBTQ youth can feel comfortable being themselves and not facing any type of discrimination. It also contains several lesson plans to allow individuals to teach this information so that society can better understand the challenges these people face and how to respect them.
- Positive community support and role models for GLBTQ adolescents are minimal, and many adults fear discrimination, job loss, and abuse if they openly support GLBT youth.
- GLBT youth often internalize negative societal messages regarding sexual orientation and suffer from self-hatred as well as from social and emotional isolation. They may use substances to manage stigma and shame, to deny same-sex sexual feelings, and/or as a defense against ridicule and violence.
- In a recent survey, 33 percent of gay, lesbian, and bisexual high school students reported attempting suicide in the previous year, compared to eight percent of their heterosexual peers; 14 in another study, gay and bisexual males were nearly four times more likely to attempt suicide than were their straight peers.
Citation: Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, A. F. Y. (2005). Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth: A Toolkit.
Link to article.
Advocates for Youth is an organization that is
Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.
The Science and Success (2nd ed. 2008): Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections publication highlights 26 U.S Based programs that have been proven effictive at delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk taking among teens.
- 14 out of 26 of the programs demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the timing of first sex among youth.
- 14 out of 26 of the programs increased use of condoms
- 9 out of 26 demonstrated an increase of other forms of contraception
- 13 out of 26 showed a reduction in the number of sex partners and/or an increase in monogamy among participants
- 7 out of 26 assisted sexually active youth to reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse
- 10 out of 26 helped reduce the incidence of unprotected sex.
- 13 out of 26 programs showed a decline in tenn pregnancy, HIV or other STIs.
- 9 out of 26 showed a significant impact on teen pregnancy
- 4 out of 26 showed a reduced trend in STIs
- 6 programs achieved improvements in youth’s receipt of health care.
23 of the programs listed in the publication include information about absitence and contraception. The remaining three are programs for early childhood interventions and one is service learning program.
To visit Advocates For Youth’s website click HERE.
For the full publication: Programs that work 2008 full rpt
For the Summary of Programs: Programs that work 2008 Exec Sum