This article, published by Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, focuses on the importance of providing adolescents with access to quality health services and accurate non-judgmental information. Adolescents have particular needs regarding to reproductive and sexual health care and it is imperative that clinics work to ensure that their services, staff and facilities create a welcoming and safe space.
This issue brief discusses how providing youth friendly services can play a role in reducing a youth’s risk of becoming pregnant and contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. This can be done by creating a safe and youth-friendly clinic setting, making information about care and rights available and reducing external barriers to accessing care.
Citation: Illinois Caucus of Adolescent Health. ICAH Issue Brief: Youth-Friendly Clinics and Sexual Health Services. 2007.
Link to PDF of “Youth Friendly Clinics and Sexual Health Services”
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.”
The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a not-for-profit, interdisciplinary professional organization that includes educators, sexuality counselors and sex therapists, AASECT members such as physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, allied health professionals, clergy members, lawyers, sociologists, marriage and family counselors and therapists, family planning specialists and researchers, as well as students in relevant professional disciplines.
The mission and priority of AASECT is to promote understanding of human sexuality and healthy sexual behavior. They provide various resources including sexuality education certification, career mentorship, and monthly professional newsletter.
You can also connect with them via Facebook and Twitter.
“Our Daughters and Sons” is a booklet published by the organization Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) that focuses on educating parents whose children might be or are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender. The booklet provides very detailed answers to common questions that parents may have such as “Why is my chid gay?” and “Should we consult a psychiatrist or psychologist?”
The topics discussed include coping mechanisms, how to support sons and daughters, communication, religion, HIV/AIDS and legal concerns. Additionally, there is a list of famous gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals and additional resources and information.
New York City Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. Our Daughters and Sons: Questions and Answers for Parents of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People. 2006. Can We Understand? A Guide for Parents.
Link to PDF of “Our Daughters and Sons”
The Make it Better Project was launched in 2010 by the Gay-Straight Alliance Network in order to provide youth and adults concrete tools to make schools safer for LGBT students.
“The Make it Better Project aims to educate, motivate, and unite students and adults to effectively take action to stop bullying and harassment in schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”
The website provides ideas and information for youth to increase LGBT awareness and community at the school level and at state and national levels. There are also resources for parents, teachers and school administrators, and adult supporters who want to take a stand against bullying and advocate for LGBT youth and their rights.
There are also resources for individuals who want support or need to speak to someone in a confidential manner about LGBT issues.
You can connect with the Make it Better Project via their blog, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr.
The Creating Safe Space Toolkit for GLBTQ Youth, published by Advocates for Youth and Girl’s Best Friend Foundation, is intended for youth-serving professionals, especially in fields such as youth development, education, health care, and social work.
This toolkit addresses topics concerning homophobia and transphobia among youth and provides advice and tips in assessing an organization’s internal climate and staff’s personal attitudes regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, developing proactive policies, and developing positive attitudes regarding GLBTQ people.
The first part of the toolkit complies a lot of data from studies and surveys that looked at the homophobic climate in the U.S, sexual orientation development, family relationships, GLBT youth of color, substance abuse, lack of GLBT youth positive role models, sexual risks, and suicide risks. The second part of the toolkit provides tips and strategies for creating a safe and inclusive space for GLBTQ youth.
Click here for a PDF of the “Creating Safe Space for GLBTQ Youth” Toolkit
This handy PDF, “Web Sexual Health Resources You Can Use,” was compiled by Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) and contains websites and resources in order to allow you to learn more about science-based programs, lesson plans and teaching strategies, training and curriculum development, research and youth health statistics, and services.
See below for a brief list of the resources. Links have also been updated (Jan 2014).
Free Lesson Plans and Teaching Strategies
Training and Curriculum Development
Research and Youth Health Statistics
Link to PDF of “Web Sexual Health Resources You Can Use”
“Resources for Families on Parent-Child Communication,” published by Advocates for Youth, provides a list of resources and materials to help parents begin talking with their children about sex. Resources are organized within the categories of web sites for parents, web sites for young people, books and videos, and organizations.
All print materials can be ordered from local bookstores or via Advocate for Youth’s website.
Link to PDF of “Resources for Families on Parent-Child Communication.”
Link to webpage listing the resources that is more computer-friendly
The American Sexual Health Association, founded in 1914, aims to communicate to the public, patients, press, providers and policy makers by developing and delivering sensitive health information about sexual health and sexually transmitted diseases/infections.
Their mission statement:
“The American Sexual Health Association promotes the sexual health of individuals, families and communities by advocating sound policies and practices and educating the public, professionals and policy makers, in order to foster healthy sexual behaviors and relationships and prevent adverse health outcomes.”
The website provides information about:
- Sexual Health (Condom use, women’s health, men’s health, FAQs…etc.)
- STDs/STIs (Statistics, Reducing Risk, Getting Tested, HPV, Chlamydia, etc.)
- Education Resources for Health Providers (Videos, Resources for Medical Students, etc.)
- Education Resources for Parents (How to Talk to Your Kids, Start the Conversation, etc.)
- Education Resources for Teachers (Comprehensive Sex Ed, STIs & Young People, etc.)
You can also get updates from the ASHA Blog and through their Youtube channel.
Advocates for Youth, established in 1980, aims to help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive rights. They focus on working with young people ages 14-25 in the U.S. and abroad and treat young people as a valuable resource.
Advocate for Youth’s Rights. Respect. Respnsibility (3Rs) Core Values:
RIGHTS: Youth have the right to accurate and complete sexual health information, confidential reproductive and sexual health services, and a secure stake in the future.
RESPECT: Youth deserve respect. Valuing young people means involving them in the design, implementation and evaluation of programs and policies that affect their health and well-being.
RESPONSIBILITY: Society has the responsibility to provide young people with the tools they need to safeguard their sexual health, and young people have the responsibility to protect themselves from too-early childbearing and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Their website contains information such as:
They also publish a variety of publications ranging from topics such as “Peer Education” to “State Facts” and “Abstinence Only Programs.”
You can connect with Advocates for Youth via Facebook, Twitter, & Tumblr
This resource, complied by Advocates for Youth, provides detailed information and resources for youth who live with physical and/or mental disabilities— including, but not limited to hearing, sight, and motor function impairments; Down syndrome; cerebral palsy; paraplegia and quadriplegia; developmental disorders; and mental health issues.
The resource is divided into the following sections:
- Statistics and data about disabilities among children and youth
- Myths and facts about sexuality and disability
- Why should parents be concerned about sexual education for their disabled children?
- General guidelines for parents
- General guidelines for professional sex educators
- Selected Resources for educators and other youth serving professionals–Books, Curricula
- Selected Resources for parents–Books
- Organizations/Web sites
Link to “Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally and Mentally Challenged Youth” on Advocates for Youth’s webpage
Link to PDF version
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
This fact sheet issued by ICAH reviews the recommendations for Sexual Health Education in schools by Medical and Public Health organizations such as:
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Medical Association
- World Health Organization
- American Public Health Association
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
- Society for Adolescent Medicine
These organizations recommend that Sexual Health Education programs should include the following topics:
- Basics of reproduction
- Human development (puberty)
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Contraceptives and other barrier methods
- Communication and behavioral skills (negotiation, refusal, etc)
- Relationships (familial, sexual, platonic)
- Information about access and/or condom availability
- Sexual orientation and gender
- Decision -making, values, and responsibility
In addition to these topics, some organizations have further recommendations or guidance on Sexual Health Education.
To view the fact sheet click HERE
For further information regarding National Education Standards for Sexual Health Education please visit Futureofsexeducation.org for PDF handouts of the standards for grades K-12.
In 2007 the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy issued a report on New Research that Identifies Effictive Teen Sex Education Programs and Other Interventions.
The report, conducted by Dr. Douglas Kirby, PhD, evaluates 115 programs. Two thirds of the programs examined focus on abstinence and contraception and their positive effect on teen behavior.
The report also includes results in regards to access to contraception, condoms and whether educational programs that include parents and teens have any affect on whether teens engage in sexual activity.
You can view the summary of the report here.
Or the full report here.
Visit The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
“17 Characteristics at a Glance” is taken from Kirby et al.’s report, Sex and HIV Education Programs for Youth: Their Impact and Important Characteristics and their publication, Tools to Assess Characteristics of Effective Sex and STD/HIV Education Programs (TAC). This is a brief one page description of the 17 common characteristics of programs found to be effective in changing behaviors that lead to STD, HIV and unintended pregnancy among young people.
To identify those characteristics, Kirby and his colleagues conducted a systematic review of 83 studies of HIV prevention and sex education programs that were from both the developed and developing world. About 66% of these programs showed positive behavior changes. The researchers then conducted a more in-depth analysis of characteristics of these curriculum-based programs that showed positive changes.
Kirby, D., Rolleri, L. A., Wilson, M. M. Tools to Assess Characteristics of Effective Sex and STD/HIV Education Programs (TAC). 2007.
Link to PDF of “17 Characteristics At A Glance”
The Curricula Assessment Tool was designed by the ICAH to serve as a guide for Teachers, Administrators, Students, Parents and Members of the community working to ensure that the sex education curriculum being taught meets high standards for content and focus.
Acting as a checklist, the form provides the items required by the state of Illinois to be included in the sex education curriculum as well as items that meet the health learning standards for the State Board of Education.
You can view and download the form below.
Curriculum Assessment Tool 2007
Plain Talk is a program developed by the Annie E Casey Foundation and was launched into five urban communities in 1993. The program is a neighborhood based initiative aimed at helping adults, parents, and community leaders develop the skills they need to communicate effectively with young people about reducing adolescent sexual risk taking. Plain Talk has been replicated in multiple communities across the United States.
The Goals of Plain talk are to:
- Create consensus among parents and adults about the need to protect sexually active youth by encouraging early and consistent use of contraceptives.
- To give parents and other community adults the information and skills they need to communicate more effectively with teens about responsible behavior.
- To improve adolescent access to high-quality, age-appropriate and readily available reproductive health care, including contraception.
To find more information regarding the Plain Talk program visit The Annie E Casey Foundation and conduct a search for Plain Talk.
To view a summary of the Plain Talk Program, click the link below. Plaintalk.org is no longer a working web address for this organization.
Replicating Successful Programs- Plain Talk 2006
The San Francisco Unified School District provides support services for LGBTQ youth and guidance for schools to provide curriculum for grades K-12 on diversity. The required curriculum for SF School systems includes:
Elementary: Two lessons of family diversity per year
Middle School: Seven periods of Diversity Education and Violence Prevention
High School: Ten periods of Diversity Education and Violence Prevention
The SFUSD website provides pdf files of lessons and worksheets for all grade levels as well as video lessons for middle school and high school aged students.
To view these files click HERE.
To find the other services that SFUSD provides for the LGBTQ community in the school system in San Franscisco you can visit their main website HERE.
This article, published by Child Trends, is targeted to school principals, district staff, and others who are responsible for all aspects of school functioning. It would also be useful to individuals focusing on a narrower range of school functions (e.g., academics, health and safety, civic development) who want a better sense of how their concerns fit into the larger environment and overall adolescent development.
The brief presents information from data and research studies organized around the following themes:
- Health— Schools and Obesity, Schools and Drug Use, Schools and Mental Health, Schools and Health Care
- School Safety and Violence–School Violence
- School Social Supports
- Academic Quality
- Civic Engagement
- Changing Demographics
The authors hope that by compiling this information, schools can develop socially competent, physically healthy and civically engaged youth who will carry those assets into adulthood. In addition, a greater awareness can be built around adolescent development and schools can coordinate their practices with health care providers, after-school programs, and students’ families.
Marin, P., and Brown, B. (2008) The School Environment and Adolescent Well-Being: Beyond Academics. Child Trends Research Brief. Washington, D.C.: Child Trends., 1-11
Link to “Beyond Academics: The School Environment and Adolescent Well-Being”