CDC TREND DATA ON TEENS AND SEX SHOWS THE VALUE OF SEXUAL RISK AVOIDANCE EDUCATION

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Washington D.C. - The CDC’s new trend data from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) offers encouraging news regarding teens and sex and the value of Sexual Risk Avoidance(SRA)education. “According to the results of this survey, more teens are waiting for sex and defying the often-repeated premise that teens are going to have sex anyway. Sexual Risk Avoidance education is a primary prevention approach that seeks to normalize sexual delay among youth and, as survey data indicates, more youth are embracing that message than ever before. Now is the time for SRA educators to continue their work in reinforcing the good decisions teens are making,” stated Mary Anne Mosack, President/CEO of Ascend. 

While overall, teen sex has decreased from 47.8% in 2007 to 39.5% in 2017, the most significant decreases are seen among minority youth with black students who ever had sex decreasing from 66.5% in 2007 to 45.8% in 2017 and Hispanic students showing a decrease from 52.0% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2017. In addition, among sexually active teens, the percentage of students who had sex with four or more partners decreased significantly from 14.9% in 2007 to 9.7% 2017 with equally significant decreases among White, Black and Hispanic youth. Number of partners is an important predictor of the likelihood of contracting an STD. So, while gains in this area are extremely encouraging, there is more work to do as half of the 20 million new STDs reported each year are among young people, between the ages of 15 and 24. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/pdf/trendsreport.pdf


The survey also underscores the importance of a consistent theme typical in SRA education programs of tying the consequences of sexual and other risk behaviors to academic achievement and thus broader life, health and financial impacts into adulthood. Sexual Risk Avoidance programs routinely share the benefits of following the Success Sequence as a strong poverty prevention approach that advises a young person to a) graduate b) get a full time job and c) wait to be married before having children. Research shows that following this sequence decreases the likelihood of living in poverty to only 2%.[1]

[1]Haskins, R., & Sawhill, I. (2009). Creating an Opportunity Society. Washington, D.C.: Brooking Institute.

Abram Goff