Why Teach Healthy Relationship Skills Using a Primary Prevention Strategy, Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Approach?
1. California's Education Code "requires that sexual health instruction and materials include information that abstinence is the only certain way to prevent HIV, other STIs, and unintended pregnancy." Learn More
2. The California Healthy Youth Act of 2016 mandates that sexual health instruction occur in public schools once in middle school and once in high school using Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE) curricula, a sexual risk reduction approach. Currently, a primary prevention education that teaches practical skills to not only reduce risks but to avoid and eliminate risks is not readily accessible to students.
3. Determination by The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce:
“Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) is the best public health strategy to prevent unintended teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted infections (STIs). Designed to emphasize risk avoidance, rather than risk reduction, SRA programs are based on effective programs designed to encourage teens to avoid underage drinking, illicit drug use, reckless driving, and other risky behaviors. It sends a clear message that abstinence is the healthiest choice that teens can make for themselves and for society as a whole, and it presents that message in a dignified, age-appropriate manner.”
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in working with Administration for Children and Families and Family Services Bureau recognize the need for Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Programs. They define SRAE as “an education that teaches participants how to voluntarily refrain from non-marital sexual activity. SRAE Programs also teach the benefits associated with: self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, resisting sexual coercion, avoiding dating violence, resisting youth risk behaviors such as: underage drinking and illicit drug use.”
5. Shasta County Health and Human Services lists the following as one of the primary prevention activities for STDs: “Encourage abstinence and develop skills in decision making, communication, and negotiation about sex.”
6. Based on STD data by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and by Shasta County, CYP believes that primary prevention education that ensures optimal health for young people needs to be accessible. CYP applauds the efforts being made by different agencies and organizations in Shasta County to reduce and manage risks for HIV, STIs, and unplanned pregnancies. It would bolster the prevention efforts even more to teach specific skills that enable risk avoidance choices before young people engage in risky behaviors and to equip those who are engaged in risky behaviors to move to a risk-free place.
Shasta County reports 45% of cases of Chlamydia are in women ages 15 to 24 in 2016. This infection increases the risk of likelihood of the transmission of HIV infection.
The CDC also reports that 65% of all Chlamydia infection is coming from the age group, 15-25 CDC(2016, Oct. 19) Fact Sheet: Reported STDs in the United States 2016 National Data for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis
7. According to the CDC, “abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. The correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission, including HIV infection. However, no protective method is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD or pregnancy.”