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Millennial Attitudes on Reproductive and Sexual Health Show Promise for Advocates


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Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI)—a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that conducts research to better understand debates on public policy issues—released its new survey, How Race and Religion Shape Millennial Attitudes on Sexuality and Reproductive Health. One of the largest of its kind, the survey sought to examine how race, religion, and politics shape young people’s attitudes on reproductive and sexual health, as well as on morality and stigma.

Millennials—young adults born in the 1980s and 1990s—came of age during a time when antibiotic-resistant sexually transmitted infections became a public health threat, racial disparities in reproductive and sexual health outcomes persisted, and politicians continued to systematically deny and attack their ability to access sexual health information and health care services, such as contraception and abortion. That may be why, when compared to the general public, so many of the 2,314 young adults ages 18-to-35 in the survey were less likely to identify with either of the two major political parties, and have a pessimistic view about the direction of the country.

Also, my generation is the first generation to have not known a world before the risk of HIV and AIDS became a widely known epidemic—a sobering reminder of the context in which today’s young people were born and still live. This could explain why 87 percent of millennials believe health plans should cover HIV and STD testing.

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