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New Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results Illustrate NC Teens' Sexual Health

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The North Carolina Department of Public Instructions (NC DPI) released the results of their 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) today. The survey asks high school and middle school students about their health behaviors and experiences. Many of the questions relate to students sexual health, wellbeing, and safety.

Below, we’ve detailed what the new YRBS data tells us about students’ sexual health. Any increases or decreases noted are the change from the 2011 survey unless otherwise noted. View the full YRBS surveys.

Quick Analysis

On balance, the results of the 2013 YRBS illustrate very positive trends. Fewer students are sexually active, and more sexually active students report using condoms. Fewer students report being bullied, raped, or experiencing intimate partner violence. The 2013 also provides more information to help educators, parents, and communities address bullying and the needs of LGBT youth. 

2013 High School Results

Sex

47.3% have ever had sexual intercourse. This represents a 10% decrease in the past 10 years, and a 7% decrease since North Carolina improved its sex education under the 2009 Healthy Youth Act. The decrease was seen for both boys and girls and in all grades.

32.1% had sexual intercourse during the past three months, a common way for researchers to define students as “currently sexually active.” This percentage also decreased.

Of currently sexually active students:

    • 60.8% used a condom during last sexual intercourse, a 13% increase since 2011.
    • 21.2% drank alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse

15.1% have had sexual intercourse with four or more people during their life, another decrease.

17.1% report that their partner was three or more years older the last time they had sexual intercourse. These numbers were much higher for female students and students in 9th grade.

4.8% have had sexual contact with both males and females during their life.

Safety

9.4% were hit, slapped, or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend during the past 12 months. This is lower than previous years, and more common in younger grades.

6.6% had sexual intercourse for the first time before the age of 13, something that correlates strongly with sexual abuse and assault.

8.9% of all students and 12.8% of girls have ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to.

10.7% have ever been the victim of teasing or name calling during the past 12 months because someone thought they were gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

12.5% have been electronically bullied during the past 12 months.

59.1% have seen other students being bullied in their school during the past 12 months

Support

73.4% say parents or other adults in their family talked with them about what they expect them to do or not to do when it comes to sex. This is higher for female students and African-American students.

6.2% – 2.2% of boys and 9.8% of girls – describe themselves as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.

19.6% who usually talk with their parent or other adult family member when they have questions about sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HIV, AIDS, or pregnancy prevention.

11.3% have ever been tested for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Middle School

North Carolina middle school students are given an abbreviated survey with fewer sexual health questions.

11.4% have ever had sexual intercourse.

Sex Education:

  • 78.8% of 8th graders had ever been taught about abstaining from sexual activity.
  • 91.3% of 8th graders had been taught in school about AIDS or HIV infection.
  • 66.4% of 8th graders Percent had ever been taught about chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, or human papillomavirus, or genital warts.

24.9% usually talk with their parent or other adult family member when they have questions about sexually transmitted diseases (STD), HIV, AIDS, or pregnancy prevention.

Bullying:

  • 42.7% have ever been bullied on school property
  • 18.9% have ever been the victim of teasing or name calling during the past 12 months because someone thought they were gay, lesbian, or bisexual, a decrease since the question was first asked in 2011.
  • 19.3% have been electronically bullied.

 MEDIA CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, (919) 749-7309 (mobile) or (919) 226-1880 (office)

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