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Comprehensive Sexuality Education. Meghan Benson, MPH, CHES Dane County Education Programs Manager September 23, 2009. Overview. What is sexuality? What is comprehensive sexuality education? What are the characteristics of comprehensive sexuality education programs?

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comprehensive sexuality education

Comprehensive Sexuality Education

Meghan Benson, MPH, CHES

Dane County Education Programs Manager

September 23, 2009

overview
Overview
  • What is sexuality?
  • What is comprehensive sexuality education?
  • What are the characteristics of comprehensive sexuality education programs?
  • Why are comprehensive sexuality education programs important?
  • Which programs work?
sex vs sexuality
Sex vs. Sexuality
  • Sex – Physical acts of sexual intimacy
  • Sexuality – A significant aspect of a person’s life, from birth to death, consisting of many interrelated factors, including anatomy, growth and development, gender, relationships, behaviors, attitudes, values, self-esteem, sexual health, reproduction, and more
sexuality education
Sexuality Education
  • A lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about sexuality
    • Age-appropriate
    • Fact-based and medically accurate
    • Culturally competent
    • From many sources, including parents, family, peers, school, and community
sexuality education for youth
Sexuality Education for Youth
  • Parents, guardians, and other caregivers of youth are – and should be – the primary sexuality educators for their children
  • However, these adults often need support and encouragement from others
definition of comprehensive sexuality education programs
Definition of Comprehensive Sexuality Education Programs
  • K-12 programs that include age-appropriate, medically-accurate information on a broad set of topics related to sexuality including human development, relationships, decision-making, abstinence, contraception, and disease prevention.

- Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

comprehensive sexuality education key concept areas
Comprehensive Sexuality Education Key Concept Areas
  • Human Development
  • Relationships
  • Personal Skills
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Health
  • Society and Culture
age appropriate
Age-Appropriate
  • Based on typical cognitive, emotional, behavioral, physical, and sexual development for a particular age group
    • It is important to enhance a child's growth in all developmental areas, including laying the foundations for a child's sexual growth
    • Adults have a responsibility to help children understand and accept their evolving sexuality
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 5 8
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 5-8
  • Each body part has a correct name and specific function(Human Development)
  • There are different kinds of families(Relationships)
  • Children need help from adults to make some decisions(Personal Skills)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 5 810
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 5-8
  • Most children are curious about their bodies(Sexual Behavior)
  • No one should touch the private parts of a child’s body except for health reasons or to clean them(Sexual Health)
  • Girls and boys have many similarities and a few differences(Society and Culture)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 9 12
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 9-12
  • During puberty, internal and external sexual and reproductive organs mature in preparation for adulthood(Human Development)
  • Many skills are needed to begin, continue, and end friendships(Relationships)
  • To make good decisions, one must consider all of the possible consequences and choose the actions that one believes will have the best outcomes(Personal Skills)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 9 1212
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 9-12
  • Children are not physically or emotionally ready for sexual intercourse or other sexual behaviors(Sexual Behavior)
  • Pregnancy can happen anytime a girl/woman has unprotected vaginal intercourse with a boy/man(Sexual Health)
  • People often expect girls and boys to behave stereotypically(Society and Culture)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 12 15
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 12-15
  • The media portrays beauty as a narrow and limited idea but beautiful people come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities(Human Development)
  • Customs and values about dating differ among families and cultures(Relationships)
  • The best decision is usually one that is consistent with one’s own values and does not involve risking one’s own or others’ health and safety(Personal Skills)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 12 1514
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 12-15
  • Sexual abstinence is the best method to prevent pregnancy & STIs(Sexual Behavior)
  • Young people who are considering sexual intercourse should talk to a parent or other trusted adult about their decision and about preventing pregnancy & STIs(Sexual Health)
  • State laws govern the age of consent for sexual behaviors(Society and Culture)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 15 18
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 15-18
  • Reproductive functioning is different than sexual functioning(Human Development)
  • Dating relationships can be enhanced by honesty and openness(Relationships)
  • Partners may need to assertively communicate their needs and limits(Personal Skills)
examples of age appropriate sexuality education ages 15 1816
Examples of Age-Appropriate Sexuality Education – Ages 15-18
  • Sexual intercourse is not a way to achieve adulthood(Sexual Behavior)
  • Individuals can help fight STIs by serving as an accurate source of information, by being a responsible role model, and by encouraging others to protect themselves(Sexual Health)
  • Gender role stereotypes can be harmful to both women and men(Society and Culture)
resources for age appropriate sexuality information
Resources for Age-Appropriate Sexuality Information
  • Guidelines for Sexuality Education K-12http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/guidelines.pdf
  • Advocates for Youthhttp://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=111&Itemid=206
  • There’s No Place Like Home for Sex Educationhttp://www.noplacelikehome.org/
medically accurate
Medically Accurate
  • Supported by the weight of research conducted in compliance with accepted scientific methods
    • Published in peer-reviewed journals
    • Recognized by leading professional organizations and agencies with relevant experience
culturally competent
Culturally Competent
  • Culturally competent implies having the capacity to function effectively within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by individuals and their communities

- US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health

why is comprehensive sexuality education important
Why is comprehensive sexuality education important?
  • Risky sexual behavior among teens leads to negative health outcomes
    • Teen pregnancy rates are on the rise
    • 1 in 4 teens has a sexually transmitted infection
  • Teens experience high rates of dating violence and sexual assault
  • US teens’ sexual health outcomes are far worse than their peers in other countries
  • Significant racial and ethnic disparities in teen sexual health outcomes
from the cdc july 19 2009 1
From the CDC – July 19, 20091
  • “…the sexual and reproductive health of America’s young persons remains an important public health concern: a substantial number of youth are affected, disparities exist, and earlier progress appears to be slowing and perhaps reversing. These patterns exist for a range of health outcomes (i.e., sexual risk behavior, pregnancy and births, STDs, HIV/AIDS, and sexual violence), highlighting the magnitude of the threat to young persons’ sexual and reproductive health.”
does comprehensive sexuality education work 2
Does comprehensive sexuality education work2?
  • Comprehensive sexuality education programs have been associated with positive behavior change among youth
    • Postponement or delay of sexual initiation
    • Reduction in frequency of sexual intercourse
    • Reduction in the number of sexual partner/ increase in monogamy
    • Increase in the use of effective methods of contraception, including condoms
does comprehensive sexuality education work 223
Does comprehensive sexuality education work2?
  • Comprehensive sexuality education programs have been associated with positive health outcomes among youth
    • Reduced rates of teen pregnancy
    • Reduced rates of STIs
    • Reduced rates of HIV
which comprehensive sexuality education programs work 2
Which comprehensive sexuality education programs work2?
  • Advocates for Youth reviewed program evaluations demonstrating strong evidence of program effectiveness
    • Methods and data published in peer-reviewed journals
    • Experimental or quasi-experimental evaluation design with intervention and control (comparison) groups
    • Included at least 100 young people in each group
    • Continued to collect data from both groups for at least 3 months after intervention
    • Led to 2 positive behavior changes OR reduced rates of pregnancy, STIs or HIV in intervention youth
which comprehensive sexuality education programs work 225
Which comprehensive sexuality education programs work2?
  • 26 programs strongly affected behaviors and/or sexual health outcomes among youth exposed to the program
    • 11 school-based
    • 10 community-based
    • 5 clinic-based
  • Programs were evaluated in different settings and among different populations – choose the program that works best for your group!
which comprehensive sexuality education programs work 226
Which comprehensive sexuality education programs work2?
  • Choose a program based on setting
    • Urban (24)
    • Suburban (9)
    • Rural (6)
  • Choose a program based on age
    • Elementary school (18)
    • Middle school (13)
    • High school (20)
    • Young adults (9)
which comprehensive sexuality education programs work 227
Which comprehensive sexuality education programs work2?
  • Choose a program based on race/ethnicity
    • African American (21)
    • Asian (9)
    • Latino (15)
    • Native American (1)
    • White (8)
  • Choose a program based on gender
    • Both (18)
    • Females only (7)
    • Males only (1)
who supports comprehensive sexuality education 3
Who supports comprehensive sexuality education3?
  • Parents
    • More than 90% of parents of adolescents
  • Community members
    • 6 in 10 voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports comprehensive sexuality education
  • Faith-based institutions
    • 8 religious denominations and the National Council of Churches of Christ
  • Professionals and professional organizations
    • AMA, APHA, AAP, SAM, APA, IOM
    • NEA, ASHA
references
References

1CDC. (2009). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (Vol. 58, No. SS-6) – Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons Aged 10-24 Years – United States, 2002-2007.

2Advocates for Youth. (2008). Science and Success, Second Edition: Sex Education and Other Programs that Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections. Accessed at http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/storage/advfy/documents/sciencesuccess.pdf on August 18, 2009.

3SIECUS. (2007). In Good Company: Who Supports Comprehensive Sexuality Education? Accessed at http://www.siecus.org/_data/global/images/In%20Good%20Company-SIECUS-%2010.07.pdf on August 18, 2009.