By Nicole Mclaren
Before writing this article about sexual health I thought that it was focused on the physical aspect like STIs and their prevention, through researching this topic I have come to understand what it actually means. Sexual health has to do with not only the physical but also the social and mental well-being in relation to sexuality.
To be sexually healthy one should possess a positive approach to sexuality and their sexual relationships. Sexual health is related to other human rights like the right to be any sexual orientation without facing discrimination and gender equality. This means that the social setting in which one is engaging in sexual acts can impact the person’s sexual health. So someone who is not free to be informed about their choices for reproduction is someone who is not able to live a sexually healthy life. Without the fulfillment of human rights sexual health is absent from a society and therefore from the individual.
The lack of access to health care especially reproductive health care impacts the lives of young people across the globe. The U.S. has a relatively high adolescent birth rate, 27 out of 1000 15-19 year olds has a child. This is higher than almost every western European country and is only one off from India’s adolescent birth rate. We must understand that this is not always a choice by young people and it speaks more to the social norms and access to reproductive health care and education.
This aspect of sexual health can impact the rest of someone’s life. In the U.S. teen mothers are less likely to graduate from high school and are more likely to live in poverty than their peers. In order to prevent both mothers and children from facing these obstacles we must provide education about sexual health and access to birth control for young women. The education about sexual health must focus on evidence-based education instead of abstinence based education.