Updated: Feb 27, 2020
By Karla Martinez, Healthy Futures Intern
The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) recently published the findings of the 2017 health-risk behaviors survey conducted by the CDC. The report aims to shed light on issues that impact youth mortality and morbidity such as behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries, violence, alcohol and drug use, tobacco use, unhealthy diets, and lack of physical activity. In relation to teen pregnancy and sexual health, sexual risk behavior was also reported. Keep in mind the lag in data publishing. This is the latest data to date.
More than 4 million students from across the nation were surveyed from large city school districts. This report shows that LGBTQ+ students are most vulnerable to major health-risk behaviors, including sexual risk. Texas teens, specifically high school girls, were also more likely than their non-Texan peers to engage in adverse behaviors such as having sex without using a method of contraception.
The findings show that, while many high school students are engaging in sexually risky behaviors, about 1 in 10 report having four or more sexual partners. Of those sexually active students, only 54% reported using a condom for protection – a decline from 2007, when 62% reported positively for condom use. According to a recent article from CNN, the increase in the number of sexual partners and a decline in the trend of condom-use are alarming due to the number of teens contracting STIs and HIV.
It is possible to reverse these rising numbers through prevention education and access to healthcare. It is important to continue to talk to young people about choosing abstinence or safer sex practices to ensure healthy futures. To learn more about health disparities among Texas teens, click here.