Reimagining the State of Adolescent Sexual Health
As leaders of Trailhead’s Youth Sexual Health Program, it brings us incredible joy to journey into 2023 with the release of Colorado’s State of Adolescent Sexual Health (SASH) report – a multi-year initiative rooted in liberation, reimagining, and collaboration between young people and adults to evolve the delivery of youth sexual health education in Colorado.
The goal of this project was to explore what anti-oppressive sex education means and why it matters. We could not have imagined the ways this project evolved.
While the recommendations developed for the report focus on engaging partners working within the youth sexual health field, the process used to develop the 2023 SASH report has emerged as a model for how to authentically center communities in solution building using anti-oppressive practices that value young people, lived experience, equitable community engagement, and power sharing. These lessons are relevant to all partners within the public health field – a testament to the transformative impact that is ready to emerge from this initiative.
What lies before us here in the 2023 SASH report is a spacious opportunity to grow. As leaders in the youth sexual health field. As systems. As partners. And most importantly, as accomplices to young people.
We invite you to join Trailhead in reimagining the state of adolescent sexual health in Colorado through the button below, and believe that through reflection, conversation, collaboration, and action we can transform how we aid young people in making informed decisions about their health and support them in living happy, healthy, and empowered lives.
For the first time in the creation of this report, the SASH has been developed in a website format to hold space for greater depth of learning and growing the provision of resources as the field advances sexual health education in Colorado. This is a tool to explore, engage in with curiosity, and return to, as it too will continue to evolve. To help readers navigate the website, we created an art-filled introduction to the SASH report that invites partners to learn how this report came to be while introducing the core concepts presented in-depth on the website.
Evolving From What Has Been
For over a decade, the SASH report has provided a summary of up-to-date statistics on the sexual health of young people and a brief snapshot of how Colorado’s progress compares to national trends over time. While this quantitative data has value and can inform policies and programs that support the health and well-being of Colorado youth, it is also limited in its expression and depth, and fails to capture a nuanced, intersectional understanding of what young people experience and need from their sexual health education.
Calling for Transformation Across Systems
Evolving from what has been, the 2023 SASH report exclusively focuses on the systems that govern and influence the experiences that young people have with sexual health, recognizing that sexual health outcomes and personal development improve when the systems responsible for delivering care, access, and education reflect the humanity and diversity of young people.