This paper, presented at the 2008 international "Sex, Rights, and the Law in a World with AIDS" conference in Cuernavaca, Mexico, analyzes the goals, obstacles, strategies, and lessons learned from the first years of the Teen SENSE initiative. Teen SENSE provides a new strategy for addressing sexual health care for youth at high risk of STIs and HIV, by acknowledging that sexual health care requires not only appropriate medical services, but also counseling, education, and a safe, inclusive environment for youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities. The paper discusses Teen SENSE's creation of a legal rights "road map" for the right of youth in state custody to comprehensive sexual health care, as well as the creation of model standards that reflect the best practices to ensure that state custody facilities respect, protect, and fulfill these rights. It also discusses Teen SENSE's strategy of implementing change through local leadership, with CHLP adopting a principle of "leading from behind."
The Center for HIV Law and Policy is a national legal and policy resource and strategy center working to reduce the impact of HIV on vulnerable and marginalized communities and to secure the human rights of people affected by HIV.