Survey: Campus Reproductive and Sexual Health Access

Programme Reports & Evaluations
Hey Jane
Advocates for Youth
14 p.

Access to comprehensive reproductive and sexual health services, including birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening and treatment, vaginal infections care, emergency contraception, and abortion, is rooted in the fundamental principles of bodily autonomy, gender equality, and the right to make informed choices about one’s life and future. Each year in the United States, three out of four people with a uterus of reproductive age receive one or more reproductive or sexual health service from a medical provider. Previous studies have found that access to quality reproductive and sexual health services is vital for ensuring the health and well-being of young people and that these services help young people prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy. Yet, studies have also found that young people may forego needed reproductive and sexual health services due to a variety of concerns and access barriers, including confidentiality, social stigma, unfriendly or judgemental interactions, and fear. Structural obstacles, such as financial constraints, transportation limitations, lack of access to high-quality health care, and limited scheduling, further exacerbate the challenges confronted by teens and young adults, especially low-income and other marginalized youth. These impediments may contribute to delayed or missed care and increased health risks, potentially leading to adverse health outcomes. In response to these obstacles, recent studies have highlighted the important role that quality on-campus care and telemedicine play in removing barriers and expanding reproductive and sexual health care access for youth. School-based health centers that provide accessible and quality comprehensive reproductive services, for example, are associated with increased contraceptive use, sexual health care visits, and declines in unintended pregnancy. In addition, telemedicine can remove barriers and expand access by increasing convenience and confidentiality and reducing travel and time needed for appointments. Against this backdrop, the virtual reproductive and sexual health clinic Hey Jane and nonprofit sexual health advocacy organization Advocates for Youth conducted the Campus Reproductive and Sexual Health Access Survey to better understand how people ages 18-24 view and experience reproductive and sexual health services. The survey was designed to capture a comprehensive view of students’ attitudes towards on- and off-campus care, particularly related to birth control, emergency contraception, STI and vaginal infections treatments, and abortion.