Tag: teen sexuality

Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #17)

Do you have questions about abstinence (saying no to sex), condoms, birth control, HIV/AIDS, or sexually transmitted infections (STI)?

The increase in sexual experimentation that often occurs during adolescent years can have adverse consequences, such as sexually transmitted infections.

Did you know?
–  In 2006, an estimated 5,259 young people between the ages of 13-24 in the 33 states reporting to the CDC were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. This number represented about 14% of all persons diagnosed that year.
–  African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS.  In 2004, this population accounted for 55% of all new HIV infections reported among individuals ages 13-24.
–  Minority youth also experience higher rates of STIs.
–  There are approximately 19 million new STIs each year, and almost half of them are among adolescents ages 15-24.

These statistics are particularly alarming as access to sexual health education for U.S. students in declining. The percentage of high schools in which teachers taught students how to correctly use a condom in at least one required course decreased from 49.5% in 2000 to 38.5% in 2006.

Try these messages with youth:

  • –  Many people with sexually transmitted infections don’t even know they have it.  Encourage testing at least once a year.  If you are sexually active and haven’t been tested in the last three months, encourage testing.
  • –  There are many different types of birth control, including abstinence, so make sure to talk to your health care provider about which may be best for you.

Resources for youth and providers:

  • –  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides leadership in helping control the HIV/AIDS epidemic by working with community, state, national, and international partners in surveillance, research, and prevention and evaluation activities. Find a testing site, statistics, plans and further resources.  Their hotline number is: 1.800.342.2437.
  • –  The National Resource Center for HIV/AIDS Prevention Among Adolescents supports adolescent service providers by providing web-based resources, evidence-based program information, and links to training and technical assistance to help prevent HIV/AIDS among adolescents.
  • –  National STD Hotline:  800-227-8922
  • –  National AIDS Hotline: 800-342-AIDS (2437)



Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #16)

Many of the consequences of adolescent sexual intercourse, such as unintended pregnancy and STI infections, occur because of lack of condom use or other methods of birth control.

Did you know?

  • –  Approximately 25% of teen females and 18% of teen males use no method of contraception at first intercourse.
  • –  Furthermore, 39% of currently sexually active high school students did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
  • –  Among females ages 14-19, one in four (26%) either has HPF, Chlamydia, HSV-2 infection, or trichomoniasis, with HPV accounting for the vast majority of infections.
  • –  Additionally, 34% of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach age 20.

These actions have serious health consequences for adolescents. Despite the decline in teen pregnancy rates over the past decade, the U.S. continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion rates in the developed world.

Youth should be educated on the best ways to ensure they do not get an STI.  Many youth  may not be aware that many people with a sexually transmitted infection don’t even know that they have it.

 Try these messages with youth:

–  You should be tested at least once a year. Schedule an appointment for STI testing if you have had sex and haven’t been tested within the last 3 months.

–  Using protection is part of having sex.  It is nothing to be ashamed of.  Talking with your partner about using protection is the best way to make sure you are both on the same page.  It shows that you respect your partner and want to protect each other.

–  However, just because you talk about using protection doesn’t mean you have to have sex.  It just means that you care about yourself and are in control of what happens to your body.

–   There are lots of different kinds of birth control, so talk to your health care provider about which may be best for you.  If you are able, talk to your parent or trusted adult about scheduling your appointment.

 Resources for Youth:

– Bedsider is an online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization.

 – The Get Yourself Tested (GYT) campaign is a youthful, empowering social movement to reduce the spread of STIs among young people through information; open communication with partners, health care providers, and parents; and testing and treatment as needed.

– CDC National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Disease Hotline: 800-342-2437

– National STD Hotline:  800-227-8922


Research Behind the RAAPS Questions (Question #15)

During adolescence, many teens begin to explore their sexuality. For all teens, this is a challenging situation, but for teens who are questioning their sexual orientation, or who identify as being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, it can be a particularly difficult transition.

Did you know?

  • –  Prospective studies indicate that many gay and lesbian youth self-identify at about age 16, and that their first awareness of homosexual attraction occurred at about age 9 for males and 10 for females.
  • –  In one nationwide survey, over 84% of LGBTQ students reported verbal harassment at school.
  • –  Over 39% of all gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth reported being punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon at school because of their sexual orientation, while 55% of transgender youth reported physical attacks because of their gender identity or gender expression.
  • –  LGBTQ youth have an elevated risk for both depression and substance abuse and are up to three times more likely to have reported suicidal ideation than non-LGBTQ youth.
  • –  LGBTQ youth are up to seven times more likely than non-LGBTQ youth to have reported attempting suicide.

This is a crucial time for teens to get support and understanding from their peers, parents, and other adults when they have questions and concerns about sexual orientation.

Try these messages with youth:

“It takes time to figure out who you are. Experiencing or acting on romantic/sexual feelings for someone of the same or different gender does not automatically determine your sexual orientation. Only you determine what is right for you. Understanding and being true to your feelings is not always easy. It happens in a person’s own time.”

It is important to be proud of the person you are becoming and to surround yourself with people that accept you for you. Sometimes this is hard and you worry that telling someone about your feelings will cause problems. There are people that support you and want to help you. Joining clubs or groups can provide you with support and resources as you figure out who you are and how to share that with others.”

Resources for Youth:

  • –  AVERT is an international HIV and AIDS charity, based in the UK, working to avert HIV and AIDS worldwide, through education, treatment and care.
  • –  TeensHealth is safe, private place for teens who need honest, accurate information and advice about health, emotions, and life.