SHR 2012

You are viewing the 2012 Edition of Sexual Health Rankings

The Indicators

Sexual Health Rankings is based on the World Health Organization's definition of sexual health as "a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality."

Each of the 26 indicators that make up the Sexual Health Rankings composite index measures one or more of five basic elements of sexual health:

  1. The ability to have control over one's own sexual behavior and experiences
  2. The ability to decide freely on whether, and when, to procreate
  3. Freedom from discrimination and violence related to sexuality and gender
  4. Experience of sexual pleasure and satisfaction
  5. Freedom from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.

A variety of things affect sexual health, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Some, but not all, of these things have to do with personal choices and actions. Laws and policies, culture, education, and health care systems affect every person's sexual health in some way. These things may not be under any one person's control, but they are changeable.

Sexual Health Rankings uses data that are currently available. But a lot of what we want to know about sexual health in America simply is not routinely measured and tracked. What's missing mainly has to do with the positive aspects of sexual health, like sexual pleasure and satisfaction, which until recently weren't considered important enough to study and monitor routinely.

More and better indicators of sexual health are needed. We want to spur the development of such indicators. Nevertheless, we can act now to promote and improve sexual health in this country based on what we know now.

Sexual Health Indicators

OutcomesSexually Transmitted InfectionsEstimated rates of AIDS diagnoses per 100,000 population
Rates of gonorrhea cases per 100,000 population
Rates of syphilis cases per 100,000 population
Cervical cancer incidence rates per 100,000 population, age adjusted
ReproductiveBirths to mothers aged 15-19 years, rates per 1,000 population
Sexual ViolenceForcible rape incident rates per 100,000 population
Sexual SatisfactionPercentage of adults reporting good or better health
Percentage of adults married or a member of an unmarried couple
FactorsLaws, Policies, & Human RightsStatus of statewide employment, housing, and school non-discrimination laws and policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Status of state law on marriage equality for same-sex couples
Status of state laws addressing bias or hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Status of state laws on emergency contraception in hospital emergency departments
Status of state laws restricting private insurance coverage of abortion
Status of sex education mandates and content requirements for contraception and STI/HIV education
EducationPercentage of schools in which teachers taught all 17 HIV, STD, or pregnancy prevention topics in a required course in any of grades 6, 7, or 8
Percentage of schools in which teachers taught all 17 HIV, STD, or pregnancy prevention topics in a required course in any of grades 9, 10, 11, or 12
Society & CultureProportion of seats held by women in state legislatures and DC Council
Percentage of women aged ≥25 years with high school diploma and higher education
EconomicsPercentage of people in poverty
Percentage of women aged 15-44 uninsured
Percentage of women aged 15-44 covered by Medicaid
Health SystemsPercentage of contraceptive need met by all publicly funded clinics
Percentage of people aged 18-64 years who reported ever receiving a HIV test
Percentage of women aged 15-44 living in a county without an abortion provider
Estimated vaccination coverage, ≥3 doses HPV, females aged 13-17 years

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