Sexuality is a natural, human trait.
In adolescence, we experience significant physical, psychological, and social changes related to our sexuality. We also explore behaviors, values, and feelings which in turn shape our identities.

Sexual health isn’t simply avoiding negative outcomes.
Sexual health at any age is “a state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well–being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity.”

Sexual health is determined by life choices, social and structural factors, and access to education and services.
Healthy sexual development is impacted by an adolescent’s level of access to quality sex education, safe and affordable healthcare, and family support. Outcomes are also influenced by poverty and discrimination, gender inequities and gender role expectations, and the assumption that everyone is or should be heterosexual.


Hamilton County’s population is 15,190 with 981 teens (6%) 15 – 19 years old identifying as:

*Non-Hispanic / Latino


Education, family and community support, health care access, and poverty influence adolescent sexual health outcomes. Barriers may increase depression, isolation, and violence.

In this county, 90% of students graduate high school, 16% live below the poverty level, and 5% under age 18 lack health insurance.

The Iowa Youth Survey reports that of 6th, 8th, and 11th graders:

  • 81% have positive family relationships while 68% experience family involvement and support
  • 88% agree adults in their community care about teens
  • 78% agree their school peers respect each other’s differences (e.g., gender, race, culture, sexual orientation)
  • 52% report having been bullied at least once (including name-calling, being excluded or ignored, having false rumors spread, making sexual jokes, being physically hurt, or electronically bullied)
  • 9% have received a hurtful electronic message while 10% had something hurtful shared on social media
  • 24% of 11th graders drank alcohol, 15% used tobacco products, 16% used e-cigarettes, & 8% smoked marijuana in the past 30 days


Despite progress, teens still need age–appropriate, accurate information on abstinence and contraception.

  • About 250 women aged 13 – 19 need publicly-funded contraceptives and services.
  • Most teen mothers are 18 – 19 years old (78%); 22% of teen mothers are 15 – 17 years.
  • The cost of teen childbearing is estimated to be $710,000 (2008 dollars).

THE FACTS: In Hamilton County, the number of teen births has varied by a few births each year since 2011.

HAMILTON County 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of teen births (mothers 15 – 19) 12 7 11 13 12
Population of 15 – 19 year old females 450 452 450 458 457
Percent of births to teen mothers 7% 5% 6% 6% 6%
Teen birth rate (per 1,000 females, 15 – 19 years) 27 15 24 28 26
Rank among peers** (Counties of 10K to <20k pop.) 18 / 41 33 / 41 14 / 41 8 / 41 5 / 41
Overall rank** among Iowa’s 99 counties 42 77 40 21 13
*Counts of 5 or less suppressed to protect confidentiality / ** Rank of 1 = highest. Rank of 41 or 99, respectively = lowest.

Births per 1,000 females, 15-19y

Source: Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Health Statistics, Vital Records, 2011-2015

THE FACTS: Hamilton County’s teen birth rate is generally higher than Iowa’s statewide rate. Use caution when interpreting trends in the teen birth rate, because even small changes to the number of teen births each year can vary the teen birth rate widely from year to year.


Gender disparities in STD rates exist due to physiological and social factors, and greater female testing rates.

  • Statewide, teens 15 – 19 years account for 22% of chlamydia cases, 18% of gonorrhea cases, and 5% of syphilis cases.

  • There are 7 people living with HIV/AIDS in Hamilton County, and fewer than 6* of them are under age 19.
HAMILTON County 2011 # Cases 2012 # Cases 2013 # Cases 2014 # Cases 2015 # Cases
Chlamydia 7 16 8 * 9
Gonorrhea *
* Counts less than six but greater than zero are suppressed to protect confidentiality
Source: Iowa Department of Public Health, Bureau of Disease Prevention & Immunization, Iowa Reportable Sexually Transmitted Disease Data, 2011-2015.