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Fact Sheet: The Division of Adolescent and School Health


The Division of Adolescent and School Health:
Promoting Effective HIV and STD Prevention through Schools
Provide $50 million in Fiscal Year 2013 funding for the
Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH).

This funding level will make up for the devastating 25% cut DASH received in FY 2012
and allow state, local, tribal, and territorial education agencies to implement the most effective programs possible in our schools.

CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH) is a unique source of support for HIV preventionefforts in our nation’s schools. DASH received a drastic funding cut of $10 million in FY 2012—a 25% reduction from FY 2011. This funding cut—to a program that has not seen a budget increase in over ten years—will hinder DASH’s ability to provide vital training, resources, and technical assistance to educational agencies across the country. The President has requested $40 million for FY 2013, level funding from FY 2011.
Young People Need Effective HIV/STD Prevention Programs
  • Young people aged 13–29 account for over one-third of the estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year, the largest share of any age group. Two young people every hour are infected with HIV.This is the only age group in which HIV incidence is rising, driven by an increase in young men who have sex with men. 
  • While young people in the U.S., aged 15–25, make up only one-quarter of the sexually active population, they contract about half of the 19 million STDs annually.  One in four teengirlshasan STD.
  • The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world.Each year in the U.S., more than 750,000 women aged 15-19 become pregnant, with more than 80 percent of these pregnancies unintended.
Citations: Hall HI, Song R, Rhodes P, et 1. al. Estimation of HIV incidence in the United States. JAMA. 2008;300:520–529; Prejean J, Song R, Hernandez A, Ziebell R, Green T, et al. (2011) Estimated HIV Incidence in the United States, 2006–2009. PLoS ONE 6(8): e17502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017502. Lorrie Gavin, et al., “Sexual and Reproductive Health of Persons Aged 10–24 Years – United States, 2002–2007,” Surveillance Summaries, vol. 58, number SS-6 (Atlanta, GA: Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, 17 July 2009), 47.
How DASH Is Making a Difference through Schools
In the United States, schools have direct contact with more than 56 million students for at least 6 hours a day during 13 key years of their social, physical, and intellectual development.  DASH provides funding and technical assistance to HIV/STD prevention programs in 71 state, local, tribal, and territorial education agencies.
  • The funding and training resources go directly to state and local education agencies (SEAs and LEAs) to help schools implement effective HIV/STD-prevention programs that are based on the best science available.
  • DASH-funded SEAs and LEAs offer essential tools, resources, and professional development trainings to schools and school districts to ensure that teachers are up-to-date on the latest HIV/STD-prevention research and the teaching techniques that have been proven to provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to prevent HIV and other STDs.
  • Without the strong support of education agencies,state and local health departments, which lead most HIV prevention efforts, are usually unable to incorporate their HIV prevention programs intoschools. DASH-funded SEAs and LEAs are required to collaborate closely with public health departmentsto improve program effectiveness, increase efficiency, and reduce redundancy.
  • Because SEAs and LEAs understand how schools operate, they can develop and recommend policies and practices for HIV prevention education that are better matched to the needs of schools and are therefore much more likely to be implemented, sustained, and successful.
When education agencies directly sponsor HIV-prevention programs, it sends a message that HIV prevention is part of the educational goals of an institution and and makes implementation of these programs an important priority for schools.
How Effective HIV/STD Prevention Programs Reduce Risk Behaviors
Research shows that well-designed and well-implemented HIV/STD prevention programs can decrease sexual risk behaviors among students, including delaying sexual intercourse, increasing condom or contraceptive use, reducing the number of partners, anddecreasing the number of times students have unprotected sex.[1]
  • Strong evidence indicates that sex education programs that promote abstinence as well as the use of condoms do not increase sexual behavior. In addition, when teens are educated about condoms, levels of condom use at first intercourse increase while frequency of intercourse stays the same.[2]
  • Research has found that teens who report that they received more comprehensive approaches to sex education are 50 percent less likely to experience an unintended pregnancy.[3]
How Effective HIV/STD Prevention Programs are Cost-Effective
An economic analysis of one school-based sexual risk reduction program found that for every dollar invested in the program, $2.65 was saved in medical costs and lost productivity.
Citation: Wang L, Davis M, Robin L, Collins J, Coyle K. Economic evaluation of Safer Choices: a school-based HIV/STD and pregnancy prevention program. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 2000;154(10):1017–1024.
How DASH Is Making a Difference through National Partnerships
DASH funds a network of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to provide national-level support for HIV prevention efforts in education agencies and other organizations that serve youth at elevated risk for HIV infection.
  • NGOs have access to a wide range of highly trained experts who know how to tailor HIV prevention guidance and tools for school board members, administrators, and teachers in ways they can understand and apply.
Because HIV and STD cases in the United States are highly concentrated in specific groups and locations, DASH-funded NGOs complement the work of education agencies and health departments to reach youth in high-risk situations, including those in juvenile justice centers and shelters for runaway and homeless youth.
How DASH Resources Benefit Schools
DASH funds scientific surveys, including the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), the School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS), and School Health Profiles, which provide comprehensive data about young people’s health risk behaviors and the steps schools are taking to improve student health.
  • Since 1990, YRBS has monitored six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults, including sexual risk behaviors, tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use, physical inactivity, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
  • The next SHPPS was scheduled for 2012; however, both school and classroom level evaluations will not be conducted as scheduled due to the FY2012 funding cut.
  • DASH provides national leadership in identifying best practices for school health programs. For example, DASH’s Health Education Curriculum Analysis Tool helps schools assess health education curricula and select or develop a program that is most likely to have a positive impact on sexual risk behaviors for the youth they serve.


The Importance of Schools

After the family home, schools are the primary places responsible for the development of young people. This gives schools an opportunity to dramatically improve the health and well-being of their students each day—including playing an important role in HIV and STD prevention.
Just as schools are critical to preparing students academically and socially, they are also vital partners in helping young people learn to adopt health-enhancing attitudes and behaviors that can last a lifetime.

[1]Douglas Kirby , Emerging Answers 2007: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases(Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, 2007), 15.
[2]Mark Schuster, et al. Impact of a high school condom availability program on sexual attitudes and behaviors, Family Planning Perspectives,1998, 30(2):67-72 & 88. And Jane Mauldon, et. al., The effects of contraceptive education on method use at first intercourse, Family Planning Perspectives, 1996, 28:19-24 & 41.
[3]Pamela Kohler, et al. “Abstinence-only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy.” Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2008, 42(4): 344-351.



Updated May 2012




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