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Open Access Publications from the University of California

National Native American AIDS Prevention Center Needs Assessment: Focus Groups Series on Young Native Adults and Sexual Health


This report details the findings from a series of focus groups on what young adults (ages 18-24) think is important to provide adolescents in sex education, sexuality education, and reproductive health. The results of the project will be used for curriculum planning. Key findings include: The average age when youth start dating was 12-13 or junior high school. The majority reported the onset of sexual activity before graduating from high school. The participants discussed one major factor that explained why Native youth did or did not use drugs or alcohol – their environment. Most participants could not recall any Native youth that did not use drugs or alcohol. Violence was witnessed or experienced by the majority of participants. Some of the participants believed that violence was a part of every relationship. Participants that had seen adolescent couples fighting all reported that it happened when youth were drinking alcohol. Having positive role models was an important protective factor. Youth with families that participated in family outings and supported youth in after school activities did not use drugs and alcohol and they earned better grades. Economic development is critical to a community’s health Urban Indians need support in raising their children and integrating into diverse communities The common reflection on their sex education experience was: It was largely inadequate- most had sex education (biology, sexual development) in the 3rd grade with a second course in high school. The curricula never covered attitudes, beliefs, and values, complete reproductive health, body image, or gender roles.

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