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Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

HIV, Other STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education in Public Secondary Schools — 45 States, 2008–2010




 

In the United States, 46% of high school students have had sexual intercourse and potentially are at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy (1). The National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States recommends educating young persons about HIV before they begin engaging in behaviors that place them at risk for HIV infection (2). The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) also recommends risk reduction interventions to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy among adolescents (3). To estimate changes in the percentage of secondary schools that teach specific HIV, other STD, and pregnancy risk reduction topics, a key intervention consistent with those supported by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and CPSTF (2,3), CDC analyzed 2008 and 2010 School Health Profiles data for public secondary schools in 45 states. This report summarizes the results of those analyses, which indicated that in 2010, compared with 2008, the percentage of secondary schools teaching 11 topics on HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention in a required course in grades 6, 7, or 8 was significantly lower in 11 states and significantly higher in none; the percentage of secondary schools teaching eight topics in a required course in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 was significantly lower in one state and significantly higher in two states; and the percentage of secondary schools teaching three condom-related topics in a required course in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 was significantly lower in eight states and significantly higher in three states. Secondary schools can increase efforts to teach all age-appropriate HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention topics to help reduce risk behaviors among students.

School Health Profiles surveys have been conducted biennially since 1996 to assess school health practices in the United States.* States, territories, large urban school districts, and tribal governments participate in the surveys, either selecting systematic, equal-probability samples of their secondary schools (middle schools, junior high schools, and high schools with one or more of grades 6–12), or selecting all public secondary schools within their jurisdiction.§ Self-administered questionnaires are sent to the principal and lead health education teacher at each selected school and returned to the agency conducting the survey. Lead health education teachers are asked questions regarding the content of required instruction related to HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention. Data are included in this report only if the state provided appropriate documentation of methods and had a school response rate ≥70% for both the 2008 and 2010 surveys. Across states included in this report, school response rates ranged from 70% to 93% (median: 73%) in 2008 and from 70% to 86% (median: 73%) in 2010. The number of lead health education teachers who participated, by state, ranged from 71 to 472 (median: 245) in 2008 and from 65 to 677 (median: 249) in 2010. Participation in School Health Profiles is confidential and voluntary. Follow-up telephone calls, e-mails, and written reminders are used to encourage participation. For states that use a sample-based method, results are weighted to reflect the likelihood of schools being selected and to adjust for differing patterns of nonresponse. For states that conduct a census, results are weighted to adjust for differing patterns of nonresponse.

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Information in this article was accurate in April 6, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.