Archive for the ‘Sex Education’ Category

By Paola Martinez, Community Mobilization Intern

As thousands of students all over the world have started to mobilize towards sexual education and reproductive health issues, it becomes evident that these subjects are important for young people in our communities. I would say that the earlier we start to talk about it, the better results we are going to have.  Thousands of students around the world are making a call for “10 days of activism” to speak about:  HIV prevention, contraceptive methods and LGBTQ and human rights.

It is important that leaders and policy makers realize that they have to protect funding for programs that provide resources to address the sex education and reproductive health needs of younger people in our communities.

Following this call of “10 days of activism,” a major UN agency youth program has proposed better access to abortion and sexual education as key to fulfilling young people’s reproductive rights ahead of the 2011 UN Youth Conference to be celebrated in New York this month.

“We envision a world where Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are fully realized and where youth can experience and celebrate their sexuality,” declares the statement. They give special emphasis to the right to choose and call on governments to create a legal system where young people have universal access to safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education.  Thousands of young people are sharing their experiences and giving testimony about how access to sexual education and reproductive health would have changed their life or would have helped them to make better decisions.

NLIRH agrees, and works to advocate and mobilize the Latino community to gain access to affordable health insurance, sex education, family planning, contraception and many other reproductive health issues.

By Paola Martinez, Community Mobilization Intern


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By Rita Martinez, Development and Communications Intern

Two latina young women at a computer

Post updated after the jump, August 19

While research has shown that abstinence-only sex education programs don’t work, the University of Central Florida has ignored this fact and recently developed a new virtual reality game which delivers one message, loud and clear: say “no” to sex, and win.

This virtual game features avatars that simulate “real-life” scenarios and proclaims to teach young teens how to resist the advances of their peers. It claims to provide girls with a medium to understand the subtleties surrounding the peer pressure to engage in sexual behavior. Noble as it seems, this game is inherently ill-informed as it takes on a very narrow-minded approach to sex education.

According to one of the developers, Professor Anne Norris, the ultimate goal is “to reduce pregnancy and sexually-transmitted disease among the young Latina population.” I wonder how they intend to do that exactly- will they attempt to be culturally relevant? And if that is indeed the goal of this game, why not give young Latinas a multi-faceted perspective that empowers them to explore the full spectrum of options available to them? No, instead this game purports an outdated view of Latinas, drawing faulty conclusions from their higher pregnancy and STI rates. What they should see is that these health disparities are not a result of a young girl’s ineptitude to deflect sexual advances, but a lack of an integrated approach to comprehensive sex education.


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Today, at the start of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, we released Removing Stigma: Towards a Complete Understanding of Young Latinas’ Sexual Health, an up-to-date research analysis of young Latinas’ sexual health and the impact of current policies.

The research is clear: traditional teen pregnancy prevention campaigns that rely on stigma and shame simply don’t work. Latinas and their families need health resources that recognize their unique experiences.

Download the full report here and read the press release here.

The report will be available in spanish shortly.

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On Monday, President Obama delivered the proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 to Congress.

We are grateful that the Administration has expanded federal funds for Title X family planning programs and clinics, which invest in reproductive health and wellness for Latinas and immigrant women and provide reproductive health care to many Latinas.  Latinas have the highest uninsured rate of women of any other racial or ethnic group, at 37%, and it is critical that during our national economic crisis we continue to offer an essential source of reproductive health and preventative services, especially for low-income women.

It is also good news that the President has increased funding for evidence-based sex education and for community health centers, which are an essential source of reproductive and preventive health care for low-income Latinas and immigrant women.

However, we are deeply disappointed with the President’s decision to preserve the harmful provision known as the Hyde Amendment in the FY 2011 budget.  A woman’s ability to access a legal, safe abortion remains under attack, and as evidenced by health care reform debates, the Hyde Amendment only serves as ammunition.  Over a quarter of women on Medicaid are Latinas, and low-income Latina and immigrant women are disproportionately impacted by restrictions to abortion access.  Preserving this provision will enable a politically-motivated barrier to continue and restricts safe, legal abortions for poor women.

While it is important to recognize that the budget includes some victories for reproductive health access, it is also crucial to speak out against provisions that prevent true reproductive justice. Basta! 33 years is enough!

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Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America stated at a center in San Antonio this past week that abstinence-only education does not serve our youth, but in fact, endangers them. While holding up the current state-approved Health class textbook, Richards said:

There’s absolutely nothing in here about using a condom or anything else that would prevent a sexually transmitted infection.

Texas, for more than five years now, has had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation. The prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) has also increased with abstinence-only education. The evidence that this education (or lack thereof) has lead to countless unintended pregnancies or STIs is difficult to ignore . With recent addendums made by the Texas Board of Education, health classes are no longer even a requirement for students to graduate.

As a graduate from a high school in Houston, lifelong Texas citizen, and intern for NLIRH, I have firsthand experience with teen pregnancy and the lack of medically-accurate education. Five of my childhood friends have had children since gradation, all of which were unintended. If Texas doesn’t reexamine its educational priorities, the future of the state will reflect the carelessness of its curriculum.

By Carlos Blanco, Community Mobilization Intern

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When searching on the internet for answers to teen sexual health questions, one can come across many websites that either don’t have teen friendly information or misinformation which can lead teens in the total wrong direction. A study conducted by researchers at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and Stanford School of Medicine found that the most trafficked health websites that come up in google search for “birth control”, “sexually transmitted disease” or “morning after pill,” do not provide the most up-to-date and accurate information.

For instance, these websites do not give the most up-to-date World Health Organization directions for taking Plan B (take both pills at the same time within 5 days of unprotected sex), inform readers that Plan B can be purchased over the counter at authorized pharmacies in 9 states, or dispel the myth that Plan B induces abortion. In addition, the websites do not dispel myths around weight gain from birth control, how specific STDs are transmitted, and when the recommended time to begin getting pap smears.

The researchers do however recommend these three accurate and teen friendly websites: Go Ask Alice, a question-and-answer service by Columbia University; the Center for Young Women’s Health from Children’s Hospital Boston; TeensHealth, a part of KidsHealth.org; and Teen Wire, a site for teens maintained by Planned Parenthood.

As hard as it is to find medically accurate and progressive information for sexual health on the internet, it’s encouraging that public health and medical professionals are working to correct the misinformation and dispel myths, so that teens can have a fighting chance to access good information and make healthy decisions.

By Robin Mangini, Research Intern

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Liza Fuentes, Senior Research Associate at NLIRH, has an op-ed in El Diario about Bristol Palin and abstinence only education.

Esta semana, los medios celebraron El día de la Prevención del Embarazo en Adolescentes entrevistando a Bristol Palin, madre adolescente e hija de la gobernadora de Alaska Sarah Palin, quien trató de convencer a las y los jóvenes que su caso es ejemplo de porque no tener sexo: no puede salir con sus amigos como antes y perdió la oportunidad de asistir a la universidad fuera de Alaska. Los consejos de Bristol Palin, desgraciadamente, solo logran demostrar que tan desconectada es su campaña de la realidad de la vida de tantos Latinos adolescentes.

Read the rest here.

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