The effects of sexual health education programming on health literacy of sexual minority youth

dc.creatorJampani, Navyaen_US
dc.description.abstractPurpose: Sexual health education programming has always been a politically-charged topic that has once again come under the spotlight with the recent passing of bills in multiple states that restrict classroom education of sexual health. This literature review seeks to understand how these bills could affect the health of young people who go through grade school without proper sexual health education, especially students who identify as LGBTQ. Methods: This study was a literature review. Articles were found on various databases including PubMed, ERIC, and CINHAL using the same key search terms. Articles published within the last 10 years were reviewed and included based on their relevance to the research question. The variety of databases allowed for perspectives from the education, medical, and social stakeholders. Results: A total of 15 articles were included and thoroughly examined. Across the articles, it was found that state requirements widely vary, creating disparity between student who live in different states. Some states were found to require the portrayal of LGBTQ relationships as socially unacceptable or to not include them at all. It was found that these policies did not match public opinion, with many articles finding that states that mandated abstinence-only education (AOE) programs had over 80% of constituents favoring comprehensive sexual education (CSE). Schools that delivered CSE saw lower rates of homophobia and bullying, and dating violence while AOE programs were found to deliver medically inaccurate information. Formal sexual health education during adolescence was also found to create a solid base of sexual health knowledge that persists into adulthood, showing that adolescence is an important time to impart sexual health education as it may be the only such education individuals receive throughout their lifetime. It was also found that exclusion of the LGBTQ population in sexual health education, which many states are now mandating, led them to perceive the content as not relevant to them, leading to decreased use of screening tests for STIs and cancer. Conclusion: Across the articles, it was found that the largest issue facing the quest for effective sexual health education is a lack of standardization across the country. The consensus among existing research is that medically accurate, inclusive, and early sexual health education paves the way for safer school environments and healthier students. Despite this research, the federal government leaves the specifics of sexual health education programming to state and local governments. There is also a glaring lack of research regarding the long-term impact of sexual health programming on students’ health literacy, their ability to understand new health concepts and make the best decisions for their life following graduation.en_US
dc.titleThe effects of sexual health education programming on health literacy of sexual minority youthen_US