BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Adolescent Health



Adolescents are pre adults or teenagers who may no longer be considered to be children. This group consists of young people between the ages of 10 and 19 years, and are often thought of as a healthy group. Nevertheless, many adolescent deaths result from accidents, suicide, violence, pregnancy related complications and other illnesses that are either preventable or treatable.

Adolescenceis one of the most rapid phases of human development characterized by increased engagement of many young people in sexual risk behaviors that can result in unintended health outcomes. This increase in sexual risk behaviors is demonstrated by the following statistics from the United States Centre for Disease Control and prevention (CDC).
• 41% of adolescents have had sexual intercourse
• 30% had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these, 43% did not use a condom the last time they had sex and 14% did not use any method to prevent pregnancy
• 21% had drunk alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse
• Only 10% of students surveyed in the US have been tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
• Mostly adolescents accounted for an estimated 22% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2015
• Half of the nearly 20 million new STDs reported each year were among adolescents and young people, between the ages of 15 to 24
• Nearly 230,000 babies were born to adolescent girls aged 15–19 years in 2015

Adolescent health is an important topic because sexual risk behaviors are major public health concerns. These behaviors are the most common public health problem associated with this group, placing these teenagers at a high risk for HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as well as unintended pregnancies.
To prevent or decrease sexual risk behaviors and related health problems among adolescents, schools and affiliated organizations should promote the adoption of lifelong attitudes and behaviors that support their health and safety. This includes health education, health promotion and appropriate reinforcement to adopt and sustain healthy choices and behaviour. CDC’srecommendation for routine medical care includes a HIV test, especially for sexually active adolescents and adults.

Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse remains the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. Additionally, the accurate and consistent use of condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission while birth control pills reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies only. However, no protective or control method besides abstinence is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD or pregnancy.

Programs and initiatives targeted towards adolescent sexual awareness include data collection and analysis, science-based guidance, funding to state and local departments of education and national nongovernmental organizations, research, evaluation and partnerships.

Comments are closed.