Young people face many barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health care, including confidentiality concerns,and lack of financial resources and transportation, among others. As a youth-friendly and accessible setting, school-based health centers (SBHCs) are uniquely positioned to deliver quality and confidential sexual and reproductive health services that can equip adolescents with the necessary information, tools,and support to be healthy, safe,and ready to learn.
Reproductive and Sexual Health Education
What is Sexual Health?
Sexual health is a state of well-being in relation to sexuality across the life span that involves physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual dimensions. Sexual health is an intrinsic element of human health and is based on a positive, equitable, and respectful approach to sexuality, relationships, and reproduction that is free of coercion, fear, discrimination, stigma, shame, and violence. It includes: the ability to understand the benefits, risks, and responsibilities of sexual behavior; the prevention and care of disease and other adverse outcomes; and the possibility of fulfilling sexual relationships. Sexual health is impacted by socioeconomic and cultural contexts—including policies, practices, and services—that support healthy outcomes for individuals, families, and their communities.1
National School-Based Health Alliance Position Statement
National Organization for Women New York City
Menstural, Reproductive, & Sexual Health Products
New York State requires all school districts, serving students grades six through twelve, to provide free feminine hygiene products in restrooms. This new law will ensure all young people across the State have equal access to these essential products. Below are some resources for donating and finding products as well as information on how to safely use these products
- Woman to Woman: Food Bank’s Woman to Woman campaign helps raise awareness and financial support to ensure all women and girls in our city have access to the products they need with dignity.
- NYC’s Condom Availability Program: gives away more than 30 million free safer sex products every year to over 3,500 locations throughout the five boroughs. These free products include male NYC Condoms, internal condoms (FC2) and lubricant.
- Where to Get PrEP and PEP in New York City: There are several ways you can get pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and emergency post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in the city which helps prevent HIV even after exposure.
- Planned Parenthood: provides services such as birth control, emergency contraception, HIV services, pregnancy testing, and STI testing, treatment and vaccines.
Resources for SBHCs and Staff
- New York State
- NYS Department of Health:
- NYS Center for School Health: Sexual Health and Safety
- NYS Education Department: Guidance for HIV/AIDS Prevention Education
- New York City
- Adolescent Health Working Group:
- “Be Real. Be Ready” Curriculum: this curriculum increases high school students’ knowledge and skills around relationships and sexuality
- Adolescent Provider Toolkit – Sexual Health: this toolkit embraces adolescent sexuality as a positive and normative stage of development. It also focuses on healthy sexuality and healthy relationships. This was designed for primary care providers but is applicable to many other providers including school-based and youth program providers. This toolkit was written with a national perspective and includes many unique resources in the format of handouts.
- GLSEN: Inclusive Sexual Health Education for LGBT+ Students
- Academy for Education Development: Building Emergency Contraception Awareness Among Adolescent: A Toolkit for Schools and Community Based Organizations
Resources for Students
- Advocates for Youth: Advocates for Youth works alongside thousands of young people here in the U.S. and around the globe as they fight for sexual health, rights, and justice.
- Long-term Birth Control Methods: information on different forms of birth control to inform students decisions
- Bedsider Health Center Locator: Bedsider has a website for youth which explains the various birth control methods, where to get them, reminders to take birth control, and frequently asked questions.
- Sex, etc.: a website created by teens, for teens. It has various sexual health resources.
- I Wanna Know: a website on sexual health for teens and young adults. Topics covered include: sexual health, STIs, relationships, and LGBTQ youth.
- The Door: The Door’s mission is to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment.
Resources for Parents/Caregivers
Literature on SBHCs and Reproductive Health
For a full database on published literature related to School-based health centers and Reproductive Health visit the SBHC Literature Database built by the National School-Based Health Alliance. Below are some papers we believe highlight the important role of SBHCs in Reproductive and Sexual Health Education
Reproductive Health Impact of a School Health Center
Finding: Students in the SBHC were more likely to report receipt of health care provider counseling and classroom education about reproductive health and a willingness to use an SBHC for reproductive health services. Use of hormonal contraception measured at various time points (first sex, last sex, and ever used) was greater among students in the SBHC. Most students in grades 10-12 using contraception in the SBHC reported receiving contraception through the SBHC. Comparing students in the nonintervention school to SBHC nonusers and SBHC users, we found stepwise increases in receipt of education and provider counseling, willingness to use the SBHC, and contraceptive use.
Oregon School-Based Health Centers and Sexual and Contraceptive Behaviors Among Adolescents
Objective: To investigate the association between school-based health centers (SBHCs) and sexual behavior and contraceptive use among 11th graders.
Finding: Multilevel logistic regressions found positive associations between SBHC presence and healthy sexual behavior (OR _ 1.23, p < .05) and contraceptive use (OR _ 1.31, p < .01). Associations were stronger at schools with at least 50% of students receiving free or reduced price lunch. Among SBHC schools, prescribing and dispensing contraceptives onsite was positively related to contraceptive use among students who had sex within the past 3 months (OR _ 1.77, p < .01). Findings suggest that exposure to SBHCs in general, and availability of specific reproductive health services, may be effective population-based strategies to support healthy sexual behaviors among youth.