- March 29, 2018
- Jennifer Salerno
The last year and a half has been very eventful here at P4C – we launched RAAPS 2.0 with a complete platform upgrade… AND we released our first new product since our company was founded: the Adolescent Counseling Technology or “ACT” for Sexual Health (and our release of ACT for Tobacco is just around the corner).
With over a year of youth completing ACT for Sexual Health – we took a moment to analyze the data and reflect on what we’ve learned so far. We were shaken at some of the findings and wanted to share them with you!
Our first ‘schooling’ came in the data. We expected higher rates of risk among sexually active youth – but the levels are honestly staggering (and disquieting).
Among sexually active youth who were assessed and counseled by the ACT for Sexual Health system:
- 19% have been in an abusive relationship in the last 12 months and 16% report being forced to participate in unwanted sexual activity
- Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) had a partner who refused to use condoms or prevented the youth from using birth control
- And 16% of youth report having bartered sex (for a place to stay, phone, alcohol or drugs, money or something else) – this number was much higher than any of us involved in the research and development of ACT had anticipated – and a growing trend that should be on the radar of all providers and professionals working with youth.
Schooling number two? ACT solves different problems depending on the setting. We reached out to the providers and professionals using ACT – ranging from experienced sexual health gurus to novices and newbies. We were interested in finding out the different ways organizations are using ACT SH to solve their problems related to engaging youth and supporting them in healthy decision making:
- SBHCs are using ACT to open the door to more in-depth, in-person dialogue and counseling with sexually active youth and they are using the population-level data for reporting and to guide programming
- Primary care and pediatric practices are using the electronic counseling to ensure sexually active youth are provided evidence-based, standardized education (a challenge in time-crunched practices where providers often have varying levels of experience and comfort levels with sex-related risk topics)
- Health Departments are leveraging the technology to provide STI counseling and follow-up on a sustainable scale that wasn’t previously possible with lean staffing and limited funding
- Youth and school programs use ACT to identify the myriad of sexual health services youth need and provide appropriate referrals and resources.
And finally – when it comes to adolescent sexual health: standardization, scalability & sustainability really matter. Building on the previous points – for providers and professionals working with youth to reduce sexual health risks ACT provides the ability to provide evidence-based, standardized counseling across a broad population, essential in today’s time-crunched, underfunded world. For many of the organizations we work with who depend on grant-funding, ACT for Sexual Health is providing an affordable, sustainable intervention to bridge funding fluctuations.
Are you using ACT for Sexual Health? If so, please weigh in and tell us your Sex Ed story!
Want to learn more? Click here to schedule a call to find out more about ACT SH works in organizations like yours.