Online Program

Promoting sexual health among young women: Implications for public health nursing research interventions and clinical practice

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 7:30 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.

Kamila A. Alexander, PhD, MPH, RN, School of Nursing, Department of Community - Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Loretta Jemmott, PhD, FAAN, Center for Health Equity Research/ School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Background: Women 18 to 25 years old experience increased rates of HIV, sexually transmitted infections (STI), and unintended pregnancies. Scientists, therefore, develop theory-driven interventions that are rigorously evaluated and promoted by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While these interventions demonstrate episodic reductions in sexual risk behaviors and infection transmission, little evidence shows sustainable sexual health outcomes.

Description: We conducted a conceptually-based literature review and critical analysis of CDC's best and good-evidence HIV behavioral interventions. The review examined ways intervention content attends to three contextual and affective influences on young women's sexual health: 1) developmental age, 2) reproduction and pregnancy desires, and 3) emotional relationship experiences.

Lessons Learned: We found scientists de-emphasized specific contextual and emotional pieces in current sexual health intervention literature, favoring mechanistic skill-building strategies. Our analyses revealed interventions lacked attention to unique developmental perspectives of 18 to 25-year-olds. Age ranges varied, encompassing ages 14 to 25 or ages 18 to 69. Also, focus on infection prevention minimized roles pregnancy desires often play in young women's lives. Finally, few interventions acknowledged emotional mechanisms underpinning sexual decision-making.

Recommendations: Sexual health interventions targeting young women should attend to emotions and experiences throughout adult phases of sexual development. We recommend broadening current sexual health interventions to focus on adult age-specific messaging, evolving reproductive needs, and emotional aspects of decision-making. This approach may influence young women's future interpretations of risk and health behaviors. Public health nurses should encourage these strategies to enhance sustainability of sexual health- promoting behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate contextual and emotional components of current sexual health intervention strategies. Identify ways to augment current sexual health interventions to promote sustainable, healthy behaviors.

Keyword(s): Reproductive Health, Sexual Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a postdoctoral fellow trainee with over 10 years of clinical and research experience focused on improving women's health using an equity and social justice lens. I conducted two qualitative research investigations to uncover the complexities of women's relationship experiences. Additionally, I have specialty training in women's, gender, and sexuality studies that informs my scientific work. My current research focus examines women's health at the intersections of intimate partner violence and sexual health promotion.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3468.0: Promoting Sexual Health