Sexual Health Education for Adolescents: Community Strategic Plan

Introduction

The subject of health has become a common issue in present-day communities that are struggling to deal with sexually active youths and young adults. Globally, the prevalence of risky sexual behaviors among teenagers is high. Similarly, America is recording increased prevalence levels among adolescents who are being exposed to life-threatening sexual activities.

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Asamoah and Agardh (2018) reveal aspects that range from smoking, alcoholism and being introduced to sex at a tender age to parents’ academic and marital status as the major triggers of risky sexual conduct among youths aged 18-30 years. According to research by Burnett, Sabato, Wagner, and Smith (2014), out of the 56000 U.S. citizens who contract HIV every year, more than 33% of them are 13-29-year-old youths and young adults. Figure 1 below shows the extent to which people aged 15-24 years are exposed to STIs in America each day.

Number of American youths contracting HIV every day due to risky sexual behaviors
Figure 1. Number of American youths contracting HIV every day due to risky sexual behaviors (Evans, Borrero, Yabes, & Rosenfield, 2017).

Some of the knowledge gaps that inform the high rates of STIs include their failure to understand the significance of parental guidance and the little awareness regarding the consequences of engaging in unprotected sex during adolescence. According to Evans et al. (2017), America has been spending more than 16 billion U.S. dollars to cater for medical expenses associated with youths’ risky sexual practices.

Advanced Practice Roles and Management Strategies Affecting Change

Having community nurses and peer counselors attached to groups of young people can pave the way for one-on-one discussions about the need and ways of shunning life-threatening sexual practices. This advanced practice role can influence their decision to adopt safer methods such as the use of condoms and self-restraint among others. According to Woo, Lee, and Tam (2017), it is crucial to engage advanced practice nurses in various community programs, including those that address youth-related issues, for instance, risky sexual behaviors, with a view to spreading the awareness of the underlying dangers, which range from STIs, low self-esteem, and joblessness to unnecessary health costs.

Community and Social Resources

As shown in Appendix A, the current community has homogeneous principles regarding health and religion. This social resource may be helpful when evaluating its health needs, especially issues that push youths to engage in risky sexual activities. However, the high youth unemployment level in this neighborhood may affect change because they may not have financial resources to facilitate safer sex using condoms, which have to be purchased. In addition, youths’ and parents’ inability to discuss sex-related matters may hinder the effectiveness of the required change.

Enhancements in Community-Related Services

The community understudy may need to introduce health education programs that can enhance youths’ knowledge regarding risky sexual activities. Moreover, to address the issue of STIs associated with such behaviors, community leaders and peer educators may create platforms such as gatherings where youths share their experiences, including the need for opening up to their parents who can help them psychologically and financially.

Strategic Plan

According to McPhun (2014), the strategy of SMART goals has been proved to result in the required outcomes, which, in this case, involve helping youths and young adults to shun risky sexual behaviors. As a result, interventions captured in the following community-centered strategic plan will be helpful in reducing the prevalence of youths’ involvement in risky sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex, drug abuse, and alcoholism by 50% within five years beginning January 3, 2019.

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A good starting point will be to engage the services of 12 medical professionals experienced in community health and youth issues to conduct a 3-day training of 30 youths (peer educators) and 30 village managers regarding the issue of risky sexual behaviors. This process will start on December 1, 2018. Issues discussed include various youths’ sexuality and life skills, drug abuse and its consequences, STIs and their mode of transmission and prevention, and parent’s role in helping their children from engaging in life-threatening sexual practices (Woo et al., 2017).

Youths and parents from various parts of this community will be organized into 30 groups. However, before awareness campaigns begin, a one-week baseline survey will be done from December 7, 2018, to assess the situation before the intervention. As of January 3, 2019, one village manager and one peer educator will be allocated to one group of youths and parents at a time whereby specific subjects mentioned earlier will be deliberated. These discussions will be expected to run for 5 years, although health professionals will be assessing progress after every 3 months before conducting an end-line survey to evaluate the impact in relation to the pre-intervention period.

The idea of training youths and village managers indicates the degree to which this strategic plan emphasizes the issue of health literacy. Regarding socio-economic factors, government officials will need to be involved also to facilitate funding for these sessions, including providing the required materials such as free or subsidized condoms, to be shared among sexually active youths and young adults. Peer educators and village managers will need to be aware of various cultural differences in this community (Sastry & Dutta, 2017). Hence, matters discussed in all groups of parents and youths will have to be in line with the prevailing traditions.

Conclusion

Implementing the above strategic plan has the potential of changing this community’s outlook after cutting the prevalence of risky sexual practices by 50% within a period of five years. The goal will be to ensure that many youths in this community are aware of the dangers associated with life-threatening sexual practices, including mechanisms for protecting themselves. However, insufficient funds and the lack of cooperation among some of them may be a challenge that can hinder the realization of the anticipated outcomes.

Resources for Proper Assessment

In the community under consideration, there are certain resources that could help assess its needs, strengths, weaknesses, and other necessary details. In particular, the community is extremely homogenous when it comes to the system of beliefs and values about health. Despite the variety of nationalities and races present in the neighborhood, most of the people share common views on religion and its value in health and life. In addition to that, most of the sample population agrees that caregivers should conduct population health assessments in order to better tend to the needs of the public. All of the above signifies that this neighborhood presents a decent study subject that would allow for a comprehensive community assessment.

Summary of the Findings

On average, the community is highly concerned about health and wellbeing. The neighborhood has a number of facilities for active recreation, and many families use them. Above that, families report significant spending related to prevention and treatment such as pharmacy, sports, healthy food, and so forth. Many perform daily exercises, which lets to characterize the activity level as decent. One of the most significant discoveries was that despite the imbalances in racial representation, the health values of the families in each group were similar. Regardless of certain drawbacks, the community’s health seems to be in good condition but requires minor adjustments.

Community Strengths and Weaknesses

The community in question has a variety of strengths that help the individuals in it successfully attain their health goals. For instance, there were no sleep issues registered among the participants of the research. Generally, most of the population was aware of the benefits of good nights’ sleep and followed a certain regimen. Another important advantage of this community was the understanding of the significance of the individual impact on the health of the local population.

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Most of the interviewed people identified their ideal health role as a role model for certain healthy behaviors. All the above-mentioned strengths help the community to stay united and face issues as a group rather than a set of individuals and families. Such a situation can be regarded as positive as it promotes a collaborative approach to public health (Franklin, Bernhardt, Lopez, Long-Middleton, & Davis, 2015).

As for the weaknesses, the community demonstrates a weak understanding of the need to be open and discuss their sexuality issues with a professional and/or members of their family. Most of the interviewed people either refused to answer questions on the subject or preferred to give only general and elusive answers. This problem is rather common and requires comprehensive public education initiatives tailored specifically for this community (Latifnejad, Javadnoori, Hasanpour, Hazavehei, & Taghipour, 2013).

Barriers to the Implementation of Health Plans

Certain barriers prevent the population in question from achieving and maintaining the state of health. For instance, a certain number of families demonstrated a lack of sexual awareness and felt no need to speak about their problems in that sphere. That issue could lead to unnecessary complications and tabooing of the topic, which can, in its turn, become a precursor to reproductive health problems.

In order to address this barrier, public health nurses need to conduct educational seminars and disseminate learning materials on the topic (Fischer, Lange, Klose, Greiner, & Kraemer, 2016). In addition, meetings should be focused on swaying the opinions of the community leaders in order to have more effect on other members (Fischer et al., 2016). Tackling this issue could help resolve misconceptions and avoid complicated health problems in the future.

References

Fischer, F., Lange, K., Klose, K., Greiner, W., & Kraemer, A. (2016). Barriers and strategies in guideline implementation—A scoping review. Healthcare, 4(3), 36-42.

Franklin, C. M., Bernhardt, J. M., Lopez, R. P., Long-Middleton, E. R., & Davis, S. (2015). Interprofessional teamwork and collaboration between community health workers and healthcare teams. Health Services Research and Managerial Epidemiology, 2. Web.

Latifnejad, R., Javadnoori, M., Hasanpour, M., Hazavehei, S. M. M., & Taghipour, A. (2013). Socio-cultural challenges to sexual health education for female adolescents in Iran. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 11(2), 101–110.

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Asamoah, B. O., & Agardh, A. (2018). Individual- and family-level determinants of risky sexual behavior among Swedish- and foreign-born young adults 18–30 years of age, residing in Skåne, Sweden. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47(2), 517-528.

Burnett, A. J., Sabato, T. M., Wagner, L., & Smith, A. (2014). The influence of attributional style on substance use and risky sexual behavior among college students. College Student Journal, 48(2), 325-336.

Evans, M. W., Borrero, S., Yabes, J., & Rosenfield, E.A. (2017). Sexual behaviors and sexually transmitted infections among male veterans and nonveterans. American Journal of Men’s Health, 11(4), 791-800.

McPhun, H. (2014). Performance plans: Smart analysis: Smarter goals. Training & Development, 41(2), 32-33.

Sastry, S., & Dutta, M. J. (2017). Health communication in the time of Ebola: A culture-centered interrogation. Journal of Health Communication, 22(1), 10-14.

Woo, B. F. Y., Lee, J. X. Y., & Tam, W. W. S. (2017). The impact of the advanced practice nursing role on quality of care, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and cost in the emergency and critical care settings: A systematic review. Human Resources for Health, 15, 63.

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