Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Well being in america

Sexuality is a elementary facet of being human, and sexual exercise is a primary a part of human growth for younger individuals in america. As they develop, adolescents and younger adults want entry to evidence-based, holistic and nonstigmatizing data, schooling and providers that assist their lifelong sexual and reproductive well being and well-being. The findings included on this truth sheet about adolescent sexual and reproductive well being in america are probably the most present accessible, drawn primarily from latest nationally consultant surveys. Though these knowledge have limitations (see accompanying field), they nonetheless present necessary insights into younger individuals’s experiences and wishes.

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Information are a robust device, however accessible knowledge are usually not with out their limitations. The nationwide survey knowledge from which this useful resource attracts can not absolutely characterize the context by which a teen’s well being habits and determination making happens. As well as, not all populations are included or appropriately represented within the accessible knowledge. This truth sheet presents the perfect accessible knowledge on this problem.


  • Throughout adolescence, many younger individuals interact in a variety of sexual behaviors and develop romantic and intimate relationships.1,2
  • In 2013–2014, 20% of 13–14-year-olds and 44% of 15–17-year-olds reported that they’d ever had some kind of romantic relationship or courting expertise.3
  • In 2013–2015, 90% of adolescents aged 15–19 recognized as straight or heterosexual, whereas 5% of males and 13% of females reported their sexual orientation as lesbian, homosexual, bisexual or one thing else.4
  • Masturbation is a typical habits throughout adolescence; in a nationwide pattern of younger individuals aged 14–17, reviews of ever having masturbated elevated with age and extra males reported masturbation than females (74% vs. 48%).5


  • Partnered sexual exercise might embody a variety of behaviors. In 2015–2017, 40% of adolescents aged 15–19 reported ever having had penile-vaginal intercourse (generally known as “sexual activity”), 45% had had oral intercourse with a different-sex companion and 9% reported ever having had anal intercourse with a different-sex companion.6
  • Total, the share of 15–19-year-olds that has had sexual activity has remained regular lately.7 However among the many narrower inhabitants of highschool college students, there was a decline in 2013–2017 within the proportion that had ever had sexual activity—from 47% to 40%.8
  • The proportion of younger individuals who have had sexual activity will increase quickly as they age by adolescence. In 2013, about one in 5 15-year-olds and two-thirds of 18-year-olds reported having had intercourse (Determine 1).9
  • Amongst adolescents aged 15–19 in 2015–2017 who had had penile-vaginal intercourse, 75% of females and 48% of males reported that their first intercourse was with a gradual companion.6
  • As of 2015–2017, amongst younger individuals aged 18–24 who’ve had penile-vaginal intercourse, 71% of males described their first sexual expertise as needed, versus undesirable (4%) or that they’d blended emotions (25%). One-half of younger girls stated they’d blended emotions (51%), whereas 45% stated first intercourse was needed and 4% stated it was undesirable.6
  • Amongst younger individuals aged 18–24 in 2015–2017, 13% of females and 5% of males reported that they’d ever been compelled to have vaginal intercourse.6



  • Use of condoms and different contraceptives scale back adolescents’ threat of being pregnant and HIV and STI transmission.10,11 There isn’t any one finest contraceptive methodology for each adolescent. Resolution making about methodology alternative ought to mirror people’ wants and priorities.
  • Most adolescents use contraceptives at each first intercourse and most up-to-date penile-vaginal intercourse. In 2015–2017, 89% of females and 94% of males aged 15–19 reported that they or their companion had used contraceptives the final time they’d sexual activity, and 77% of females and 91% of males reported contraceptive use the primary time they’d sexual activity.6
  • The condom is the contraceptive methodology mostly used amongst adolescents. In 2015–2017, 63% of females and 82% of males aged 15–19 reported having used a condom the primary time they’d sexual activity.6
  • Older adolescents are extra doubtless to make use of prescription strategies of contraception, and condom use turns into much less frequent with age.8
  • Adolescents aged 14 or youthful at first intercourse are much less doubtless than older adolescents to make use of contraceptives at first intercourse.12
  • Adolescents’ nonuse of contraceptives could also be pushed by many elements, together with lack of entry, the necessity for confidential care and low-cost providers, a perception that they’re unlikely to get pregnant and poor companion negotiation abilities.13,14 As well as, some adolescents is probably not utilizing contraceptives as a result of they wish to turn into pregnant.15


  • Adolescents and younger adults want entry to confidential sexual and reproductive well being care providers.
  • Many well being care suppliers don’t speak with their adolescent sufferers about sexual well being points throughout major care visits. When these conversations do happen, they’re often transient; in a single research of visits in 2009–2012, sexual well being conversations with sufferers aged 12–17 lasted a mean of 36 seconds.16
  • Regardless of steerage recognizing younger males’s wants for sexual and reproductive well being providers lately, many gaps stay.17-19 In a 2018 research of male sufferers aged 15–24, just one in 10 obtained all the really useful sexual and reproductive well being providers.20
  • Queer younger individuals want entry to well being care providers which can be inclusive of their identities and experiences, together with clinicians who’re properly skilled in discussing and addressing the actual well being issues of members of those teams.21

Contraceptive providers

  • In 2019, federal legislation requires medical health insurance plans to cowl the total vary of feminine contraceptive strategies, together with counseling and associated providers, with out out-of-pocket prices.22 Nonetheless, some younger individuals might not use insurance coverage to entry reproductive well being providers as a result of they aren’t conscious that these providers are coated or due to confidentiality issues.23,24 The U.S. Supreme Court docket has dominated that minors’ privateness rights embody the proper to acquire contraceptive providers.25
  • No state explicitly requires parental consent or notification for minors to acquire contraceptive providers. Nonetheless, two states (Texas and Utah) require parental consent for contraceptive providers paid for with state funds.25
  • Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia (DC) explicitly enable minors to acquire contraceptive providers with out a dad or mum’s involvement. One other 25 states have affirmed that proper for sure courses of minors (e.g., a married or parenting minor), whereas 4 states would not have a statute or coverage on the topic (Determine 2).25
  • Even when parental consent is just not required for contraceptive providers, issues about confidentiality might restrict adolescents’ entry to or use of contraceptive or different reproductive well being providers. Amongst females aged 15–17 who had ever had intercourse in 2013–2015, those that reported issues about confidentiality have been considerably much less more likely to have obtained a contraceptive service within the earlier yr than those that didn’t have these issues.26
  • In 2011–2015, 31% of females aged 15–17 and 56% of these aged 18–25 reported having obtained contraceptive providers within the final yr; about one-quarter of each age-groups had obtained this care from publicly funded clinics and the remaining from non-public well being care suppliers.27
  • Almost a million girls youthful than age 20 obtained contraceptive providers from publicly supported household planning facilities in 2014. These providers helped adolescents to forestall 232,000 pregnancies that they needed to postpone or keep away from.28

Prevention and therapy of HIV and different STIs and associated providers

  • All 50 states and DC explicitly enable minors to consent to STI providers with out parental involvement. Thirty-two states explicitly enable minors to consent to HIV testing and therapy.29
  • Younger individuals aged 13–24 accounted for about 21% of all new HIV diagnoses in america in 2016. Younger black and Hispanic homosexual, bisexual or different males who’ve intercourse with males are disproportionately affected.30
  • Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a each day capsule that protects in opposition to HIV, gained FDA approval to be used amongst adolescents in Might 2018.31
  • The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) report that younger individuals aged 15–24 account for half of the 20 million new instances of STIs in america yearly, which displays organic variations in addition to doubtless age-based disparities in accessing preventive data and providers.32
  • Chlamydia accounts for almost 20% of all STI diagnoses annually amongst 15–24-year-olds. Genital herpes, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis collectively account for about 11% of diagnoses. HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B are estimated to account for fewer than 1% of diagnoses.33
  • Two-thirds of STIs recognized amongst 15–24-year-olds annually are human papillomavirus (HPV) infections.33 These infections are sometimes asymptomatic and customarily innocent however, if left undetected and untreated, can result in cervical and different cancers.34
  • HPV vaccinations are at the moment accessible to forestall the sorts of infections most definitely to result in cervical most cancers and are really useful by the CDC for all adolescents beginning at age 11.35 
  • HPV vaccination protection has been enhancing and as of 2017, 69% of females and 63% of males aged 13–17 had obtained a number of doses of the vaccine.36
  • Quite a few research have confirmed that will increase in HPV vaccinations end in important declines in HPV infections and associated unfavorable well being outcomes.37


Younger individuals want and have the proper to correct, complete, inclusive data and schooling to assist their wholesome sexual growth and lifelong sexual well being and well-being (see field).

  • States and native college districts play a big half in figuring out what’s taught at their faculties.
  • Twenty-two states and DC mandate each intercourse schooling and HIV schooling. Two states mandate intercourse schooling solely, and 12 mandate HIV schooling solely.38
  • In 2011–2013, 82% of females and 84% of males aged 15–19 obtained formal instruction about easy methods to say no to intercourse, and 60% of females and 55% of males obtained instruction about contraception strategies (Determine 3).39
  • In 2016, the median share of colleges in every state that supplied instruction on all 19 matters that the CDC considers important to sexual well being schooling was 38% of excessive faculties and solely 14% of center faculties.40
  • The share of colleges offering sexual well being schooling declined between 2000 and 2014, throughout many matters.41,42
  • As of 2017, fewer than 7% of queer college students aged 13–21 reported that their college well being courses had included optimistic representations of LGBT-related matters.43
  • Mother and father are one other attainable supply of sexual well being data for younger individuals. In 2011–2013, 70% of males and 78% of females aged 15–19 reported having talked with a dad or mum about at the very least one in all six intercourse schooling matters: easy methods to say no to intercourse, strategies of contraception, STIs, the place to get contraception, easy methods to stop HIV an infection and easy methods to use a condom.39
  • Digital media supply alternatives for youth to confidentially seek for data on delicate matters44 and more and more are getting used to supply sexual well being interventions for younger individuals.

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Assist for Complete Intercourse Training

Main public well being and medical skilled organizations—together with the American Medical Affiliation; the American Academy of Pediatrics; the American School of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; the American Public Well being Affiliation; the Well being and Medication Division of the Nationwide Academies of Science, Engineering and Medication (previously the Institute of Medication); and the Society for Adolescent Well being and Medication—assist complete intercourse schooling.45–49

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