SEXUAL HEALTH IN HOWARD COUNTY
WHAT WE KNOW
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.
MEET THE TEENS
Howard County’s population is 9,410 with 562 teens (6%) 15 – 19 years old identifying as:
*Non-Hispanic / Latino
WHAT WE SEE
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, 87% of students graduate high school, 17% 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:
- 80% have positive family relationships while 73% experience family involvement and support
- 88% agree adults in their community care about teens
- 77% agree their school peers respect each other’s differences (e.g., gender, race, culture, sexual orientation)
- 58% 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)
- 11% have received a hurtful electronic message while 10% had something hurtful shared on social media
- 24% of 11th graders drank alcohol, 16% used tobacco products, 14% used e-cigarettes, & 2% smoked marijuana in the past 30 days
TEEN BIRTH RATE ON THE DECLINE
Despite progress, teens still need age–appropriate, accurate information on abstinence and contraception.
- About 160 women aged 13 – 19 need publicly-funded contraceptives and services.
- Most teen mothers are 18 – 19 years old (83%); 17% of teen mothers are 15 – 17 years.
- The cost of teen childbearing is estimated to be $437,000 (2008 dollars).
THE FACTS: In Howard County, the number of teen births has decreased 65% since 2008-2009.
|Number of teen births (mothers 15 – 19)||26||9||7||9|
|Population of 15 – 19 year old females||663||611||585||535|
|Percent of births to teen mothers||10%||4%||3%||4%|
|Teen birth rate (per 1,000 females, 15 – 19 years)||39||15||12||17|
|Rank among peers** (Counties of <10K pop.)||7 / 24||22 / 24||22 / 24||12 / 24|
*Counts of 5 or less suppressed to protect confidentiality / ** Rank of 1 = highest. Rank of 24 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: Use caution when interpreting trends in Howard County’s 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.
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES and HIV/AIDS
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 fewer than 6* people living with HIV/AIDS in Howard County, and 0 of them are under age 19.
|HOWARD County||2011 # Cases||2012 # Cases||2013 # Cases||2014 # Cases||2015 # Cases|