Eli Coleman, PhD, participated in an expert technical consultation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) on advancing sexual health in the United States. The project began in April 2010 when the CDC brought together 67 experts with a variety of back grounds and interests in sexual health including individuals from public interest groups, communities of faith, sexual health researchers, professional organizations, media and communications, private sector businesses, and government agencies. In May 2011 the group released a report that highlights the expert consultation proceedings titled A Public Health Approach for Advancing Sexual Health in the United States: Rationale and Options for Implementation. The report is intended to engage future partners and spur continued conversations for the initiative.
The CDC launched the initiative in recognition that sexual health is an essential component of overall individual health, that individual sexual health has a major impact on the health of communities, and that a national dialogue is critical in improving population health. The group worked to identify initiatives aimed at implementing a public health approach to promote age-appropriate sexual health. One that is consistent with the best available science, including healthy, respectful, and responsible sexual behavior, for all Americans over their lives.
Consultants were challenged to identify actions around six goals including:
1. Increase healthy, responsible, and respectful sexual behaviors and attitudes.
2. Increase the ability and awareness to make healthy and responsible choices, free of coercion.
3. Promote healthy sexuality, healthy sexual functioning, healthy relationships, and respectful sexual rights for all persons throughout the life span.
4. Optimize and educate about reproductive health choices.
5. Increase access to effective preventive, screening, treatment, and support services that promote sexual health.
6. Decrease adverse individual and public health outcomes including HIV/STDs, viral hepatitis, unintended pregnancies, and sexual violence.
In 2001 Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, released The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior. The new CDC report states that, "Over 10 years later, many measures of adverse health outcomes of sexual behaviors have worsened, prompting a need for refocused national attention on sexual health-related issues, especially HIV prevention and adolescent sexual health outcomes (e.g., unplanned pregnancy and STDs.)" The new CDC efforts will help to revitalize the goals and guidelines from the Call to Action while incorporating new research and current perspectives.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Public Health Approach for Advancing Sexual Health in the United States: Rationale and Options for Implementation, Meeting Report of an External Consultation. Atlanta, Georgia: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; December, 2010.