For each period, we calculated the weighted prevalence of the receipt of formal instruction by topic, separately for male and female adolescents; additional topics of instruction measured in only the 2011–2013 survey were also examined.
National public health goals call for increasing the share of adolescents receiving formal instruction about abstinence, birth control methods, and prevention of HIV/AIDS and STIs and increasing the proportion of teens talking with their parents about these same topics .
These goals also establish objectives for reducing differentials in the receipt of sex education by gender, race/ethnicity, and other sociodemographic characteristics.
Twenty-one percent of females and 35% of males did not receive instruction about methods of birth control from either formal sources or a parent.
Declines in receipt of formal sex education and low rates of parental communication may leave adolescents without instruction, particularly in nonmetropolitan areas.
There was no significant change over time in any of these demographic traits for either gender.
In contrast, the share of teens living in households with income Between 2006–20–2013, there were significant declines in adolescent females’ reports of the receipt of formal instruction about birth control (70% to 60%), saying no to sex (89% to 82%), sexually transmitted disease (STD, 94% to 90%), and HIV/AIDS (89% to 86%) ().
All analyses accounted for the complex survey design of the NSFG data using the Among the weighted sample of respondents aged 15–19 years in 2006–20–2013, the majority were non-Hispanic white, aged 15–17 years and attended religious services often when they were aged 14 years ().
About one-third resided in a central city, half in other metropolitan areas, and the remaining share in nonmetropolitan statistical areas.
We limited the analyses to respondents aged 15–19 years at the time of the interview, resulting in samples of 2,284 and 1,037 females and 2,378 and 1,088 males in 2006–20–2013, respectively.
Formal instruction: in both surveys, respondents were asked “Before you were 18, did you ever have any formal instruction at school, church, a community center or some other place about” the following topics: “how to say no to sex,” “methods of birth control,” “sexually transmitted diseases,” and “how to prevent HIV/AIDS.” Additionally, in the 2011–2013 survey, respondents were also asked about formal instruction on “waiting until marriage to have sex,” “where to get birth control,” and “how to use a condom.” The survey added these latter topics to address concerns that the earlier survey’s measures did not provide adequate information about the specific instructional content.
Updated estimates of adolescents' receipt of sex education are needed to monitor changing access to information.