Champaign-Urbana Public Health District

Among US high school students surveyed in 2019, 38% reported they had sexual intercourse.1 And teens today are less likely to say they used condoms in their last sexual encounter than a decade ago.2 Despite its proven importance, sexual health education is inconsistent (or non-existent) in many middle and high schools, and many teens are engaging in sexual activity without accurate information about sex or the potential risk factors. About 8 in 10 (83%) teens in the U.S. did not receive sex education before they first had sex.3

The State of Illinois is ranked 20th in teen birth rates. In recent years this rate has consistently been declining, a trend we hope to see continue.2 On the other hand, diagnoses of STIs among teenagers are on the rise. In fact, each year half of all STI diagnoses are individuals aged 15-24.

Ex: As shown in the chart below, Champaign County has a high rate of chlamydia compared to both state and national statistics, so increasing access to STI prevention education locally is vital.

Many schools do not provide sex education to their students, and those that do may not cover the topic comprehensively. This leaves students unprepared for sex and vulnerable to pregnancy, STIs, and emotional consequences. Parents, guardians, and teachers often find it uncomfortable talking about sex with their teens. To address this gap, CUPHD provides free comprehensive sex education instruction for eligible Champaign County schools.

Making Proud Choices! is an 8-module, age-appropriate, evidence-based sexual health curriculum for 12-18 year-olds. The curriculum is comprehensive and covers a wide range of sexual health topics including abstinence, condoms, birth control, STIs, HIV, decision making, communication, and refusal skills. A more detailed overview of Making Proud Choices! can be found on this website.

If you would like additional information on our sex education programming, you can visit CUPHD's Comprehensive Sex Education Program page or contact Alyx McElfresh at amcelfresh@c-uphd.org.

Sources:
1. https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline
2. https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/nhpc-press-release-schools-teaching-prevention.html
3. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/young-teen-pregnancy/
4. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs