• Between 2006–20–2013, there were significant declines in adolescent females’ reports of having received formal instruction about birth control, STDs, HIV and AIDs, and saying no to sex.
There was also a significant decline in adolescent males’ reports of having received formal instruction about birth control.
• “Formal” sexual health education is instruction that generally takes place in a structured setting, such as a school, youth center, church or other community-based location.
This type of instruction is a central source of information for adolescents.
• Strong evidence suggests that approaches to sex education that include information about both contraception and abstinence help young people to delay sex, and also to have healthy relationships and avoid STDs and unintended pregnancies when they do become sexually active.
Many of these programs have resulted in delayed sexual debut, reduced frequency of sex and number of sexual partners, increased condom or contraceptive use, or reduced sexual risk-taking.
• Young women were more likely than young men to talk with their parents about each of these sexual health topics except how to use a condom, which was more commonly discussed among males (45%) than among females (36%).
Adolescents may receive information about sexual health topics from a range of sources beyond formal instruction.• There has been a shift toward evidence-based interventions in the United States over the last few decades.The first dedicated federal funding stream for evaluation of adolescent sexual health programs was established in 2010 and has contributed to improvement in the quality and quantity of evaluation research.For example, the share of rural adolescents who had received instruction about birth control declined from 71% to 48% among females, and from 59% to 45% among males.
• Only about half of adolescents (57% of females and 43% of males) received formal instruction about contraception before they first had sex; about four in ten (46% of females and 31% of males) received instruction about where to get birth control.• Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs threaten fundamental human rights by withholding information about human sexuality and potentially providing medically inaccurate and stigmatizing information.