Conference to educate professionals, community leaders on youth, sex, culture


The Rhode Island HIV Prevention Coalition is sponsoring a statewide conference on May 31 to educate professionals and community leaders about the impact of culture on the sexual health of Rhode Island youth defined as individuals 21 and under.   

Aida Manduley, Sexual Health Advocate from Sojourner House and staff member at The Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health, describes the conference as a way to “fill in knowledge gaps and show the intersecting issues that affect youth sexuality; often the focus is just pregnancy or even STIs instead of a fuller picture of youth sexual health.”

Data from the Rhode Island Youth Risk Behavior Survey for 2011 estimate that 30 percent of high-schoolers are sexually active, with numbers increasing as youth get older. According to Shannon Spurlock, Senior Consultant from JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc., “Young people may not feel comfortable talking about sexual health because it’s embarrassing for them. Caring adults need to be able to share information in a non-judgmental, accurate and sex-positive manner.”

This conference is intended for any providers, educators and community leaders who want to learn more and improve their skills when interacting with youth around sexual health issues. The daylong event includes a morning session with presentations from local experts, a keynote by Teri Aronowitz, NP, PhD (from Boston University and UMass Boston), and a special session where young people from Rhode Island will share their original video about sexual health and communication with providers. The afternoon digs deeper and includes practical training and skill-building workshops around adultism, teen pregnancy and LGBTQ issues.

The conference will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Friday, May 31 at Rhode Island College, Gaige Hall (600 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence).  CEU’s are available.  Registration fee is $20. To register go to


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