Goal Statement: My goal is to reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted infections in adolescents and sexual minorities by increasing access to contraceptives, STI testing, and comprehensive sexual health education.
Significant Findings: The population addressed in this paper is adolescents and LGBTQ+ youth. Indiana is not required by law to teach sexual health education, let alone comprehensive and medically accurate information (Siecus, 2021). Sexual orientation and gender identities are not required in sex education even though men who have sex with men have the highest risk for STIs (Siecus, 2021; Blackwell, 2018). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2021a), one in five people are diagnosed with an STI. Furthermore, at least half of sexually active individuals will be infected with an STI by age 25 (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021b). Improving educational efforts, removing health care barriers, and providing access to contraceptives will prove effective in helping at-risk populations.
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Utilizing the Health Belief Model, improved attendance of health programs, communication with health care providers, and improved self-efficacy will reduce STI transmission (National Cancer Institute, 2005). One program that utilized the Health Belief Model, “Let’s Talk Sex,” found that 90% of participants felt more comfortable scheduling STI tests and discussing their sexual health (Ericksen et al., 2018). Another program aimed toward adolescents and parental guardians, Dating Matters, focuses on healthy relationships, communication skills, and sexual health (CDC, 2018). Advocate for Youth has a program called the Condom Collective that provides condoms to college campuses and advocates for sexual health accuracy and responsibility (Advocates for Youth, 2022). Due to LGBTQ+ youth falling into the high-risk population, they need to have a safe space filled with support. The LGBTQ Center in South Bend, Indiana, is one place that provides support, programming, and advocacy for the community (The LGBTQ Center, n.d.).