Letter from CEO Beth De Santis
Throughout 2021, Fact Forward continued to keep young people and their families at the forefront of our work. Through this commitment, we have made great strides in adolescent reproductive health and healthcare access. The annual report always allows me the opportunity to pause and reflect on the successes of Fact Forward as well as look forward to future goals and achievements. I can say many great things about what we did in 2021, but I’m especially proud of our dedication to avoiding complacency.
Although South Carolina’s teen birth rate has declined by 73 percent since its peak in 1991, adolescents in SC are at substantial risk for contracting an STI. SC ranked 4th highest for both chlamydia and gonorrhea among all ages with ages 15-24 accounting for 66 percent of chlamydia cases and 48 percent of reported gonorrhea diagnoses. These numbers might feel alarming, but they are exactly why Fact Forward continues to think strategically and thoughtfully about our work.
Throughout this report, you’ll see just how many people our work has impacted and why we continue to forge ahead in the ever-changing space of reproductive health. I have talked about the work Fact Forward does, but I cannot speak about it without acknowledging the partners, advocates, stakeholders, and supporters that make it all possible. It has been and always will be a collective effort that makes such a difference in keeping young people and their communities healthy.
As we move forward into another year, we endeavor to remember two things. First, all persons deserve the right to make healthy decisions about their bodies and futures. And second, it is a fact that the health and economic well-being of individuals, communities, and the state of South Carolina is better off with access to high-quality, reproductive healthcare. We are committed to advocating for young people and families by supporting education and policies that foster healthy communities. Thank you for your continued support and for making our work possible.