New YRBS Data Shows North Carolina Teens (Still) Have Sex
Durham, N.C. (July 14, 2010) - North Carolina’s newly released 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) shows the continued need implement effective strategies – including effective sexuality education – to help middle and high school students develop healthy habits. The 2009 survey shows that 51.1% of all high school students (grades 9-12) have had sexual intercourse. By 12th grade, 68% of all students have had sex.
The YRBS monitors teens’ actual habits related to weight and exercise, sex, seatbelt us, drug and alcohol use, mental health, and other topics. The results are released every two years by the NC Department of Public Instruction. The YRBS results help schools and communities identify critical local issues and develop intervention strategies.
The 2009 NC YRBS shows:
- 51.1% of all high school students have had sexual intercourse.
- 68% of 12th graders have had sexual intercourse and 53.9% had sex within the last three months.
- Of students who have had sex in the last three months, 39.3% did not use a condom.
- 7.5% of students were sexually active before age 13.
- One quarter of all 12th graders have had four or more sexual partners.
- More than 10% of 12th graders report being physically forced to have sex when they did not want to.
The Healthy Youth Act, which will be implemented in the upcoming 2010-11 school year, will give schools the ability to better address the risky behaviors revealed by the YRBS. The Healthy Youth Act requires schools to provide medically accurate information on STD/HIV transmission and prevention, FDA-approved contraception (including condoms), and sexual assault avoidance strategies. Schools now have the ability to choose evidence-based curricula that are proven to delay sexual initiation, increase condom use and reduce the number of sexual partners.
North Carolina Teens vs. Their Peers
National data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that North Carolina teens fare worse on every measure listed above when compared to their peers nationwide.
How You Can Use the YRBS Data
- Understand what teens in your community are actually doing! Adults often make assumptions about who is doing what and at what age. The YRBS offers detailed data by age so you can understand when you need to reach students and what kinds of information they need. For example: Abstinence-only education is inappropriate for 9th graders since a third of them have already had sex – it would deny them lifesaving information.
- Understand disparities. The YRBS data reveals some shocking difference based on sex, age, and race/ethnicity. For example: While only 8.6% of all students reported being physically forced to have sex, 19.9% of Latinas report this. Your community might not perceive sexual assault as a widespread problem, but there may be a need for a targeted program for Latinas.
- Attract resources. Funders want and need the most specific needs assessment you can provide. YRBS data provides good state and local information on specific risk behaviors.
North Carolina Youth Risk Behavior Survey: http://www.nchealthyschools.org/data/yrbs/
CDC National Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Finley, Director of Strategic Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, Office: (919) 226-1880, Mobile: (919) 749-7309