Sexual Risk Avoidance Program
NEW Sexual Health Education for Teens
The Pregnancy Help Center (PHC) offers a free sexual risk avoidance (SRA) program, called Right for Me, to area schools within central Missouri. This program is intended for middle school and early high school students. It meets the Grade Level Equivalents set forth by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and is medically accurate. While the entire program is four days in length, individual school districts may opt to modify the number of days and subjects covered to best fit their needs.
What is Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) Education?
Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education is an approach that focuses on risk-avoidance in terms of sexual activity. The term “Sexual Risk Avoidance” is the more commonly used than the older term “Abstinence.” This approach is identical to public health models designed to encourage avoidance instead of reduction of risky behaviors, such as under-age drinking and illegal drug use. SRA education teaches students, regardless of orientation or previous sexual experience, that avoiding sexual activity before marriage is the only way to avoid its risks. SRA education focuses on the whole person by sharing the importance of good decision-making skills for a healthy future.
Are SRA programs effective?
Absolutely. Currently there are 25 peer-reviewed studies that indicate students in SRA programs are more likely to delay sexually activity and are more likely to decrease/discontinue sexual activity in sexually active teens. (www.WeAscend.org) Also, it should be noted that the latest research from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) indicates that most teens have not had sex and this is a continuing trend. (CDC 2017 YRBS Survey Results)
Which SRA education program does The Pregnancy Help Center use?
The Pregnancy Help Center researched many SRA curricula and visited various centers in the state of Missouri that have implemented SRA education programs in public schools before deciding which SRA education curriculum to utilize. The decision was to use Choosing the Best as the basis of the SRA curriculum at The Pregnancy Help Center. Choosing the Best is a classroom-based curriculum, offering five age-appropriate programs in grades 6-12. It has been used in 48 states across the nation by more than three million students. Sexually inexperienced students who received the Choosing the Best curriculum were 1.5 more likely to delay sex than students who did not receive the program. Additional information about Choosing the Best can be found at www.choosingthebest.com.
The SRA coordinator and teacher at PHC is Christy Schnieders. Christy has 29 years of teaching experience at the middle and high school levels. She earned a BSed from Mizzou in Special Education and a MSed in Psychology and Counseling from Lincoln University. It’s Christy’s desire to share the benefits of the SRA message to teens so they will make healthy, life-impacting decisions for their futures.
Do SRA programs, including Choosing the Best, address issues of consent, sexting, pornography, sex trafficking, and dating violence?
SRA programs employ a holistic approach to sex and healthy relationships by focusing on the well-being of each person and developing good decision-making skills. Therefore, there are discussions about consent, sexting, pornography, sex trafficking, and dating violence within the SRA program. Each of these issues is taken very seriously and the life-long impact on the individual is discussed in terms of the violator and the victim. Age of consent laws and their impact are shared with teens. In today’s society, sexting, pornography, and fear of sex-trafficking have become common-place. SRA programs address the legal and emotion consequences of these activities, as well as healthy communication skills and best choices to avoid them.
Do SRA programs present information on contraception?
Most SRA programs, including Choosing the Best, do share medically accurate information on contraception without demonstrating or distributing various methods. SRA programs always give this information in a more general discussion with emphasis on the value of delaying sexual activity altogether to avoid risks. SRA programs do not promote or normalize sexual activity. Recent CDC research results show that an overwhelming majority of teens between 15-17 years old are not having sex. (www.CDC.gov). It should be noted if individual school districts have policies in place not to share this information with students, then PHC’s will not present information about contraception to the students.
How do SRA programs help teens become successful and healthy adults?
SRA programs focus on the whole person by presenting ways to make healthy decisions now for a better future. Programs teach the appropriate sequence of choices. This reduces the chance a teen will live in poverty as an adult. Steps such as finishing high school, going to college, or getting a job and then having children within a healthy life-long relationship are key to living a successful life as an adult. Research has shown that teens who follow these steps increase their chances for a happy marriage, healthier relationships, and a productive life-style. Research also indicates that teens who do not make healthy decisions now, including the decision to have sex, are more likely to endure negative outcomes that last a life-time such as less academic achievement, depression, and anti-social behaviors, involvement in other risky behaviors, and less financial rewards. (www.WeAscend.org) Given this information, the Pregnancy Help Center supports SRA education as the best approach to help teens thrive and become successful adults in the future.