Adolescent sexual health is of particular concern in Central Texas, where information available in schools is often limited by state law and/or district policies requiring abstinence only education. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly 52% of Texas high school students report having sexual intercourse, 46% of which did not use a condom and 84% of which did not use a hormonal method of birth control.
In response to this public health need, the Healthy Youth Partnership (HYP) formed as a collaboration of sexual health educators, advocates, and other youth-serving professionals to share information about sexual health education and provide supplemental programming to youth who receive little sexual health information in school. Over 40 agencies and 170 youth-serving professionals participate in this partnership.
The goal of this project is to increase the capacity of the Central Texas community to provide evidence-based sexual health programs to youth by offering: 1) direct programming to youth to support health promotion, risk reduction and healthier lifestyle choices; and 2) education and collaboration opportunities for youth-serving professionals and caregivers to improve systems and the capacity of local organizations to provide high quality services that increase adolescent health.
Through a partnership with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, two evidence-based sexual health curricula will be provided to youth in high-risk settings in our community: Making Proud Choices and Be Proud! Be Responsible!. It is expected that 100 youth will participate in one of the two sexual health curricula each year. We anticipate that 80% of the youth will demonstrate an increased knowledge of STDs, HIV and birth control. In the long term, we expect youth will use their knowledge and skills to participate in healthy relationships and reduce their sexual health risks. The second major activity of the project will be to increase and improve evidence based sexual health information to youth by supporting youth-serving professionals and caregivers. HYP will develop and provide continuing education opportunities to youth-serving professionals to enhance their ability to promote sexual health, reduce risk among youth and improve collaboration with professionals. HYP will provide continuing education opportunities through three mechanisms: monthly workshops and trainings, an annual one-day conference, and social media outreach.
Through the continuing education provided by HYP, we anticipate that 95% of the participants will report increased knowledge on training topics. In the long-term, we expect that they will utilize knowledge in their daily work.