Thoughts from the workshop:  “Youth of Color: Understanding Disparities in Sexual Health Outcomes”

At 15, many teens are entering high school, worrying about getting a date to homecoming and are trying to defeat algebra. That stereotype is far from real for 9.1 million youth ages 15 to 24. This is the number of persons affected by STD’s each year.

At this astonishing rate, young adults are coming to terms with the result of early sexual encounters, without the protection they need.

Due to unique barriers, such as urban sprawl, sexual taboos and support towards abstinence only, youth face a frightening reality: a lack of knowledge about sex, and how to protect oneself.

Youth of color are most at risk. Latina and Black women between the ages of 13 to 24  have over 75% of HIV/AIDS reported. For males, the Gonorreah rate surpasses that of white males by 41%.

This occurrence is not by coincidence. Health is greatly affected by social inequality and prejudice. Oppressed groups are more likely to experience poverty, lack of better education and creates loss of self-esteem in the individual. This leads to terrible circumstances.

But what can be done?

The harsh reality lies in ourselves. We must  work to create better sex education for youth, lessening the sexual taboo, looking beyond stereotypes, and ensuring access to information and services.

For more information, see Advocates for Youth: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/

Advertisements