OVERVIEW

Reproductive and sexual health is a key component of the overall health and quality of life for both men and women. Reproductive and sexual health covers a broad range of health needs from adolescence forward, including the reproductive system, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and fertility. Untreated STDs can lead to serious long-term health consequences, especially for adolescent girls and young women, including reproductive health problems and infertility, fetal and perinatal health problems, cancer, and further sexual transmission of HIV and other STDs.

  • Babies of mothers who do not get prenatal care are 3 times more likely to have a low birth weight and 5 times more likely to die than those born to mothers who do get prenatal care.

  • STDs are a risk to adolescents' health and fertility. Nearly half of new STD infections are among young people age 15 to 24.

  • Adolescents who become pregnant are much less likely to complete their education. About 50% of teen mothers get a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 90% of teen girls who do not give birth.4Only 50% of teen fathers who have children before age 18 finish high school or get their GED by age 22.

  • People age 50 and over accounted for 17% of the new HIV diagnoses in 2015 in the United States.

  • 45% of Americans living with diagnosed HIV are over age 50.

  • Older women may be especially at risk for HIV infection due to age-related thinning and dryness of vaginal tissue.

  • Some older adults, compared with those who are younger, may be less knowledgeable about HIV and therefore less likely to protect themselves. Many do not perceive themselves as at risk for HIV, do not use condoms, and are less likely than young people to get tested for HIV or to discuss sexual habits or drug use with their doctor.

  • Older people in the United States are more likely than younger people to have late stage HIV infection at the time of diagnosis.

CHILDREN and ADOLESCENTS

ADULTS

Reproductive and Sexual Health