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April 3-11 Is National Public Health Week: Recognizing Contributions Of Public Health On Improving Our Nation’s Health

Wednesday, April 5 is Reproductive and Sexual Health Day

As part of National Public Health Week, April 3-11 which recognizes the contributions of public health on improving our nation’s health, the impact and benefits of Title X reproductive and sexual healthcare services will be the focus on Wednesday, April 5.

Affirm, formerly Arizona Family Health Partnership, is Arizona’s nonprofit Title X agency. Title X is the federally administered grant program that funds Affirm. The agency distributes those funds to health centers statewide for low- or no-cost services like birth control, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment, pregnancy testing, cancer screenings, counseling and other preventative services.

Each year, more than 35,000 mostly low-income individuals access medically based, accurate and confidential Title X sexual and reproductive healthcare services.

This year’s National Public Health Week, an initiative of the American Public Health Association, is “Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health” to ensure everyone, in all cultural communities, has a chance at a long and healthy life. Daily themes for the week will focus on Community (Monday), Violence Prevention (Tuesday), Reproductive and Sexual Health (Wednesday), Mental Health (Thursday), Rural Health (Friday), Accessibility (Saturday) and Food and Nutrition (Sunday).

“To ensure access for services and resources that raise awareness about public health and prevention, we must address and prevent the underlying causes of poor health and disease risk,” said Affirm CEO Bré Thomas. “We can use social determinants of health to understand how those causes are different for each person based on various factors like race, gender, sexual orientation, gender equity and financial situations. If we focus on inclusion and equity to ensure decisions are made with everyone’s health in mind, we can build healthier communities and a healthy nation.”

The lack of inclusive and accessible reproductive and sexual health care and education negatively affects everyone, but marginalized communities carry a greater burden of harm,” Thomas said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women are three times more likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. The 2019 National School Climate Survey reported that only 8.2 percent of students reported receiving LGBTQ-inclusive sex education and only 19.4 percent of LGBTQ students were taught positive depictions of LGBTQ topics in their schools.

Through Title X funding, individuals have access to voluntary sexual and reproductive health services including:

  • Reproductive health counseling and education on a range of birth control methods.
  • Pregnancy testing, counseling, and resources.
  • Pelvic exams, including Pap smears.
  • Breast exams.
  • Basic infertility screening.
  • Emergency contraception.

As part of Affirm’s mission to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health for all, the agency also assists health care centers implement the University of Michigan’s Adolescent Champion Model to create more youth-friendly healthcare environments and experiences for youth and young adults. The agency recently announced a second five-year Adolescent Program model. Nearly 30 clinics statewide participated in the program’s first five years. Program results show improvements in well visits, youth engagement in health services and in physical and mental health screenings for adolescents, each touching on aspects of National Public Health Week.