Youth Development Approach: Turning Crisis into Opportunity

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National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)

HIV and STD health education programs that promote improved well-being are more effective than programs that focus primarily on disease, according to a recent NASTAD brief that discusses the application of youth development principles in public health initiatives.

Those principles include increased emphasis on the strengths of young people when promoting “healthy adolescent development” and more focus on the role of risk factors (e.g., unprotected sex) and protective factors (e.g., condom use) in adolescent sexual health.

The brief opposes broad program goals, advocating instead personalized programs that interact with a youth’s environment at home and at school. It also suggests that increased youth participation in the development of these initiatives would help health care leaders overcome the complex political landscape that is cited as the biggest roadblock to improving youth health education. Free, eight pages. (202) 434-8090,