Sexual health is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality. It requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.” For adolescents, this means providing access to comprehensive sexuality education; services to prevent, diagnose and treat STDs; and counseling on family planning. It also means empowering young people to know and exercise their rights.
Through the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP), the Health Department supports a variety of community organizations that promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health. Authorized by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) teaches about abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Vermont’s PREP program also covers three adult preparation topics: Healthy Relationships, Healthy Life Skills, and Adolescent Development.
PREP awards are granted to state agencies to educate young people on both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The program targets youth ages 10 to 19 who are homeless, in foster care, live in rural areas or in geographic areas with high teen birth rates, or come from racial or ethnic minority groups. The program also supports pregnant youth and mothers under the age of 21. PREP projects replicate effective, evidence-based programs or incorporate elements of projects that have been proven to delay sexual activity, increase condom or contraceptive use for sexually active youth, or reduce pregnancy among youth.
Vermont PREP funds a number of community organizations that serve youth to implement an evidence-based curriculum:
- Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention ~ Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
- Advocates for Youth
- Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States
- Planned Parenthood
- Sexual Risk Behaviors: HIV, STD, & Teen Pregnancy Prevention
- Adolescent and Young Adult Clinical Care Resources