Adolescent Sexual Health and Sexually Transmitted Infections: A Conceptual and Empirical Demonstration

  • J. Dennis FortenberryEmail author
  • Devon J. Hensel


Adolescents have a disproportionate burden of the negative outcomes of sexual activity, such as sexually transmitted infections (STI), unintended pregnancy, and sexual coercion. These outcomes contribute to short- and long-term poor health, fertility, and economics that may reverberate into adulthood. Traditional public health research appropriately addresses these outcomes of adolescent sexual behavior by focusing on promotion of abstinence, delay of initiation of sexual activity, and consistent use of condoms and contraception [1]. The proposed 2020 health objectives, which emphasize positive youth development, continue this public health focus on isolated adverse outcomes [2]. This isolated focus obscures the larger developmental significance of sexuality and sexual behavior, creating a perspective that adolescent sexual health is an oxymoron in that adolescents cannot be simultaneously sexual and healthy.


Sexual Health Sexually Transmit Infection Sexual Satisfaction Positive Youth Development Public Health Approach 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Adolescent Medicine, Department of PediatricsIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA

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