Youth who face prejudice and discrimination by virtue of their identity, life experience, or family circumstances disproportionately experience teen pregnancy and HIV/STI infection. Such young people may include youth of color, those from low-income families, immigrants, and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth (GLBTQ). Research often focuses on the socioeconomic factors—such as poverty, family distress, and access to health care—which contribute to teenage sexual risks. However, researchers focus little attention on the effects of discrimination that is based on age, race, gender, class, and sexual orientation.
Advocates for Youth encourages you to understand the impact of prejudice and discrimination on vulnerable adolescents and to emphasize youth empowerment and cultural competency when working with youth.
Redressing Reproductive and Sexual Health Disparities Among Young People
Young people of color are at greater risk of HIV and STI infection, even with identical risk behaviors; and young women of color are more than twice as likely to experience pregnancy as young white women. Further, prejudice, discrimination, and harassment are still serious concerns for young people of color and GLBTQ young people. A culturally competent approach is vital to the health and safety of these young people.