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Sex Stories: Week in Review, 1/31/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

New York and New Jersey Gird for Super Bowl Related Sex Trafficking, While Some Say Spike Claims are Misleading (Fox News)

To counter the spike the spike in sex trafficking associated with major sporting events, New Jersey officials are working with the Division of Criminal Justice, the FBI, and law enforcement from prior Super Bowl Host cities. The penalties for buying or selling sex are among the most severe in the country due to a strict law passed last year.

Revenge or Rebound Sex Common for College Students After a Breakup, Study Suggests (

A preliminary study out of the University of Missouri shows that many college students have sex within a month off a breakup in order to get back at or get over their ex, with the latter being slightly more common. The findings, including seeing comfort in sex, align with those of studies involving older adults.

Sexual Problems Affect Young Adults Too, Study Shows (Fox News)

In a recent study of over 400 sexually active adolescents, nearly half reported a sexual problem. Additionally, about half of this group were distressed by the problem(s) which included erectile dysfunction, low sexual desire, and difficulty reaching orgasm. Males and females reported similar rates of dysfunction.

Teen Sexual Health in Iowa (CBS 2 Iowa)

Teen births are down in Iowa due at least in part to the efforts of sex educators to teach about disease, birth control, abstinence, and sexual negotiation at a younger age. Despite these efforts, STI rates are up throughout the state. Of note, rural areas have higher rates of disease and teen pregnancy as well as less sex education and reproductive health services.

Harvard Reviews Sexual Assault Policy as Students Push Change (Businessweek)

Following in the steps of Cornell and other big name schools, Harvard has hired new staff to overhaul the school’s sexual violence prevention and response policies. Such changes, including an “affirmative consent measure” were called for in a 2012 student referendum and are already the policy of the Undergraduate Council.

Company to Change Policy, Offer Health Benefits to Same-Sex Couples (Hartford Courant)

A Connecticut woman’s decision to sue Brookdale Senior Living for refusing to add her wife to her health insurance plan has inspired a corporate policy change. The company which operates over 600 senior living communities throughout the US is revising their insurance to include coverage for all spouses recognized as such at the state level.

A Court’s All-Hands Approach Aids Girls Most At Risk (New York Times)

A relatively new court system in Alameda County helps girls involved in or at a high risk of sex trafficking. The Girls Court, part of a network of about half a dozen around the country, includes social services, Saturday psycho-educational sessions, and adult mentors. The system shows promising results in evaluations.

Sex Stories: Week in Review, 1/24/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

Federal Task Force to Target Campus Sexual Assaults (LA Times)

A new White House report concludes that college women have the highest risk of being sexually assaulted. The report prompted President Obama to create a federal task force to address the issue. The announcement comes at a time when there has been an increase in both federal complaints under Title IX and the Clery Act as well as in student activism encouraging survivors to speak out.

VA Republicans Ready to Defend Same-Sex Marriage Ban (Washington Post)

Some Virginia legislators are angry with Mark Herring, their Attorney General, for filing a lawsuit to declare the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Herring does not feel comfortable upholding a law he says “violates Virginians’ fundamental constitutional rights.” Many worry this recent announcement will make it hard for the bipartisan government to get much done during this term.

State Takes Aim at Sex Trafficking of Minors (The Courant)

Connecticut child-protection, law-enforcement, health, and school officials are working on a more cohesive response to combat sex trafficking in the state. In addition to new laws that toughen penalties and expand the definition of trafficking, the state will hold its first major conference on the topic next week.

Female Inmates at Alabama prison Forced to Have Sex with Guards (Mail Online)

Another report by the US Department of Justice shows systematic and widespread sexual violence occurring in Alabama’s Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women. The report, based on dozens of interviews and hundreds of letters, found that a quarter of inmates had been abused, a third of employees had sex with an inmate, and incidents go unreported for fear of retaliation. State officials were not surprised by the results.

NIH Research Network Finds Many Youth Have High Levels of HIV (National Institutes of Health)

A new study of over 800 youth in 14 cities found that young men who have sex with men have the highest levels of HIV. The youth all were part of a government treatment and research network. The study concludes that it is important to get individuals into treatment early both for their own health and to avoid unknowingly sharing the virus.

Sex Stories: Week in Review, 1/17/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

Low National Funding for LGBT Health Research Contributes to Inequalities, Analysis Finds (San Diego Gay and Lesbian News)

Between 1989 and 2011, only 05% of the studies funded by the National Institutes of Health looked at the health for LGBT individuals. Further gaps exists within this research, with the emphasis on HIV/AIDS and/or men who have sex with men. Political changes in the early 2000s may have played a role in these results.

Health and Hookups Linked Together for First-Year College Students (Counsel Health)

A new study shows a link between casual sex and female college students’ health. For 13 months, nearly 500 first year females answered questions about their sexual behaviors, their mental health, and STIs. Of those who hooked up more often, depression, sexual victimization, and STIs were more common. STIs were also more common among those who had romantic relationships.

MTV’s ’16 and Pregnant,’ Derided by Some, May Resonate as a Cautionary Tale (New York Times)

An examintion of birth records and Neilsen televsion ratings shows that MTV’s 16 and Pregnant may have helped prevent nearly 20,000 teen pregnancies in 2010. The study also explores how the show influenced behavior, concluding that it encouraged conversations, both online and in person, about sex and contraception.

Sexual Assault Reports Drop at Service Academies (Fort Hood Sentinel)

During the 2012-2013 academic year, reports of sexual assault decreased in two U.S. military academies. Of these reports, most were about events that took place after individuals’ enlisted. The academies themselves appear to be following reporting policies and trying new prevention initiatives. However, those surveyed still identified peer pressure as a major barrier to reporting.

SHR 2013 Coming Soon

We are back from our year-end hiatus, and looking forward to releasing the second edition of Sexual Health Rankings. We aim to publish the 2013 state rankings and data online this month, with the full 2013 report to follow in February. This update will include new data and refinements to our methods.

The first edition of Sexual Health Rankings generated tremendous enthusiasm within the public health field and beyond. We’re grateful for all the opportunities we had last year to present and discuss the project, and for the encouragement we’ve received to keep going.

In December and November, the National Coalition of STD Directors hosted two Webinars on Sexual Health Rankings, which drew hundreds of participants from across the nation. We also presented at three important conferences last year: an oral presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, in Boston; a poster presentation at Reproductive Health 2013, in Denver; and an oral presentation at YTH Live, in San Francisco. We also had the honor of joining the National Coalition for Sexual Health, and attending its founding meeting in Washington, DC.

Thank you for your continued interest, and please stay tuned for announcements about SHR 2013 in the coming weeks.

Yours in sexual health,

Martin Downs, MPH
Project Director

Sex Stories: Week in Review, 1/10/14

Sexual Health Rankings presents Sex Stories, a weekly roundup of sexual health news from around the country.

One-third of Teens Do Not Discuss Sexual Health with Physicians (Medical News Today)

This study examined discussions about sexual health between physicians and adolescents. Researchers recorded office visits and found that two-thirds included any discussion of sex. Talks generally lasted more than 35 seconds and were started by the physician. They were more likely if patients were female, older, or African-American, when confidentiality was clear, and during longer visits.

AHF Partners with GMAD for New Brooklyn Sexual Health Clinic (4-Traders)

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) opened its newest Men’s Wellness Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the Gay Men of African Descent’s (GMAD) facility. The Center’s goal is to make STD testing easy to access and affordable as well as to encourage regular sexual health screenings.

Transgender Rights Referendum Reaches Next Step (AP)

An effort to put a California law allowing transgender students to choose bathrooms and sports teams is one step closer to going to a vote. Opponents of the law, which went into effect Jan 1, gathered enough signatures to make the law eligible. Counties must now verify each signature to see if there is enough to put the referendum on the ballot in November.

Survey Finds High Rate of Rape, Sexual Assault at Montana State Prison (

A survey of inmates in nearly 600 prisons identified a Montana State Prison as having one of the highest rates of sexual violence. The prison reported rates of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate violence at four and five times higher than the national average respectively. Prison officials disagree with the results.

Ohio also reported higher-than-average rates. For more information, click here.

Cornell Revamps Sexual Assault Policies, Takes Proactive Approach (Huffington Post)

Rather than wait for a sexual assault controversy to occur, Cornell officials began changing policies immediately. The cases are handled by a different administrator and have a less rigorous burden of proof for the victim. The changes were made based on both a student-faculty council and extensive input from students.

Reaching Out to Prevent HIV in High-Risk Youth (USA Today)

Chicago is leading the way in creative programs that reach youth at-risk for HIV. A team of three hospitals, 60 community organizations, and dozens of health care providers are creating unique programs that reach youth in their spaces (e.g. bathhouses). Additionally, they’re excelling at the “linkage to care” model which focuses on the patients and helps them overcome individual barriers