Detroit health care facilities, local physicians and schools are working with the CDC in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Health in implementing an annual risk behavior survey to be administered to the teens in the community to survey teenage risky behavior. The survey is directed toward middle school to high school aged students. It is anticipated the survey will give guidance to the areas needing more education so the youth can make better choices when it comes to sex, drugs, and drinking.
The Electronic Survey
The survey is done electronically rather than verbally. Teens have been found to answer questions more honestly when not addressed directly by a person. The results will assist health care professionals on the need of testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Early detection and treatment helps to stop the spread to other sex partners, but in most cases the youth deny having had sex when speaking to an adult. The survey, also, opens the line of communication to address questions on teenage risky behaviors and possible improve future outcomes.
Community outreach, along with working to customize surveys to better meet the area’s population has helped to identify weak areas needing more exploration, such as teenagers. The city of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Community Health have used similar approaches to battle syphilis outbreaks. The survey identified high-risk behaviors along with the population displaying the risky behaviors. Community outreach continues and new syphilis cases have been greatly reduced.
Teenagers Risky Behaviors
The Detroit teenage risky behaviors survey has identified that 60 percent of youth have had sexual intercourse. Of the ones having sexual intercourse, 13 percent had sex relations before the age of 13 years old. Condoms were found to be used only 35 percent of the time. Birth control methods, other than a condom, were only used 15 percent of the time sexual explorations occurred. Among the teenagers survey, 16 percent used alcohol or other drugs before sexual intercourse.
The survey results offered the Detroit health department information to work toward finding solutions to the youth sexually transmitted disease problem. The school systems along with the community health departments are working together for better health education programs to reach the students. A need for a more a comprehensive annual physical exam, where STD testing at a Detroit clinic can occur, with the family physician and local health clinics. Reaching out to families in hopes this will be an encouragement to them to become more involved with the health education of the youth. Giving the students more options to gain answers to sexual questions along with encouraging visiting STD testing centers for early detection after unprotected sex has happened.
It is the hope that a comprehensive planned community outreach will see a decrease in sexually transmitted diseases across the board. As so many teens remain in denial of what is sex, the survey is aimed to assist health care professionals of the educational gap that needs to be filled and strengthened. The connection between the community, schools and health care facilities as the outreach to teens increases is have a positive influence to all parties involved to gain early detection and treatment for STDs. This connection is the hope to protect not only the sexual health of the Detroit teens, but the future health as well.