Last Updated: February 2020
Author: Division of Maternal and Child Health, Vermont Department of Health
The consequences of adolescent sexual activity remain a troubling issue, nationally and locally.
In Vermont, the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of high school age youth indicates that:
- 40% of students reported ever having sex (consistent with national results).
- 31% of students reported having sex in the past 3 months.
- 9% reported four or more sexual partners in their lifetime, (significantly decreasing since 2013).
- 13% have been tested for HIV.
- Among sexually active students, the last time they had sex:
- 54% used a condom (significant downward trend over the past decade. Likelihood of using a condom decreases as students get older.)
- 56% used moderately or highly effective contraception to prevent pregnancy (has been increasing steadily). Use of an IUD or an implant has increased by 10% since 2013.
- 21% used both a condom and prescription birth control.
- 20% used drugs or alcohol prior.
- 6% did not use any method to prevent pregnancy.
Estimates suggest that adolescents and young adults account for half of all new STI cases in the U.S. every year.
What is PREP?
The Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) is federal funding that is overseen jointly by the Administration on Children and Families (ACF) and the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB).
Through PREP, awards are granted to state agencies to provide comprehensive sex ed to young people being served in community-based programs. Instruction covers both abstinence and contraception to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The program targets youth ages 10-19 who are homeless, in foster care, live in rural areas or in geographic areas with high teen birth rates, or come from racial or ethnic minority groups. The program also supports pregnant youth and parents under the age of 21.
PREP projects replicate effective evidence based programs that have been proven to delay sexual activity, increase condom or contraceptive use for sexually active youth, and/or reduce pregnancy among youth. Vermont PREP grantees currently use the curriculum Making Proud Choices!
In addition to education on abstinence and contraceptive use, PREP projects also offer services to prepare young people for adulthood by implementing activities that address healthy relationships, positive adolescent development, and healthy life skills. Vermont also requires PREP grantees to integrate teaching on consent and creating safe and affirming environments for LGBTQ+ youth into their instruction.
In October 2019, funding decisions were made that affected the target number of youth to receive PREP in a year. For years we had an annual target hovering around 450 youth a year. In the FY20 grant year, we will be reaching about 330 youth. This is still significantly higher than most other states with the same award amount.