The first ever National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy (a.k.a. National Prevention Strategy) has been released by the US Surgeon General and Chair of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council (National Prevention Council) as a component of the Affordable Care Act.
We know that the key to maintaining health is preventing disease and injury. The National Prevention Strategy is encouraging partnerships and identifying strategic directions through which to provide services to address seven health priorities, one of which is Reproductive and Sexual Health.
“Healthy reproductive and sexual health practices can play a critical role in enabling people to remain healthy and actively contribute to their community. Planning and having a healthy pregnancy is vital to the health of women, infants, and families and is especially important in preventing teen pregnancy and childbearing, which will help raise educational attainment, increase employment opportunities, and enhance financial stability. Access to quality health services and support for safe practices and improves physical and emotional well-being and reduces teen and unintended pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).” – National Prevention Strategy
- Infant mortality rates are higher among women of color, adolescents, unmarried mothers, people who smoke, those with lower educational attainment, and those who did not obtain adequate prenatal care.
- Unintended pregnancies account for nearly half of all pregnancies and are accompanied with severe risks.
- Almost half of the 19 million new cases of STIs in the US annually happen in young people ages 15 to 24.
- One in four females and one in 12 males have experienced sexual violence at some time in their lives.
- Binge drinking and illicit drug use are associated with intimate partner violence and risky sexual behaviors, including unprotected sex and multiple sex partners. These activities increase the risk of unintended pregnancy and acquiring HIV and other STIs.
The following recommendations are made in order to improve reproductive and sexual health:
- Increase use of preconception and prenatal care;
- Support reproductive and sexual health services and support services for pregnant and parenting women;
- Provide effective sexual health education, especially for adolescents; and
- Enhance early detection of HIV, viral hepatitis, and other STIs and improve linkage to care.
No matter who you are – State, Tribal, Local or Territorial Government; Business or Employer; Community, Non-Profit or Faith-Based Organization; Individual or Family – we can all do our part in improving the reproductive and sexual health of Americans.
To learn more about the priorities and what you can do, view the entire National Prevention Strategy.
The National Prevention Council is comprised of 17 heads of departments, agencies and offices across the Federal Government, all of who are committed to promoting prevention and wellness.