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Fight for Your Rights: Protect Yourself

June 2002

The Kaiser Family Foundation's National Survey of Youth Knowledge and Attitudes on Sexual Health, is a national random-sample survey of 1,854 adolescents and young adults.

The findings show that sexual health issues like HIV and other STDs are among the top-rated concerns facing youth today. They also show that many youth are in need of more, and accurate, information.


These findings are a result of the input from the 15 to 24 year olds surveyed:


  • 88% say sexual health, including HIV/AIDS, other STDs, and pregnancy, is a big concern for people their age.
  • 70% are personally concerned about HIV/AIDS, 72% about other STDs, and 69% about unintended pregnancy.



  • 27% say they know a lot about STDs, 50% know some, 20% only a little, and 3% nothing at all.
  • 51% do not know that one in four sexually active people under 25 will get an STD this year.
  • 39% do not know that more than half of the new HIV infections occur among people 25 and younger each year.
  • 35% do not know that STDs can cause an increased risk for HIV/AIDS.
  • 22% do not know that STDs can be spread even when symptoms are not present.
  • 13% do not know that STDs can be spread through oral sex.

Information Needs

  • 60% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about how a person knows if he/she has HIV/AIDS or other STDs.
  • 57% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about the different kinds of birth control available.
  • 56% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about how to protect oneself from HIV/AIDS and other STDs.
  • 51% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about where to go to get tested for HIV or other STDs.
  • 44% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about how to bring up sexual health issues with a partner .
  • 35% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about how to deal with pressure to have sex.
  • 25% of the 15 to 24 year olds want more information about how to use condoms.

Resources on Sexual Health

  • 76% say they get sexual health information from friends, 72% from the media, 68% from sexual health education, 68% from parents, and 58% from doctors and other health care professionals.

As a result of this survey, MTV and The Kaiser Family Foundation, have launched a year-long campaign, Fight For Your Rights: Protect Yourself. This pro-social initiative focuses primarily on HIV/AIDS, other STDs, and unintended pregnancy.

The campaign includes special programming, targeted public messages, grassroots events, and an extensive resource and referral service, including a comprehensive web site on sexual health issues for youth and a free guide available through a toll-free hotline.

The web site features a national database of HIV testing facilities, a daily newswire an special articles, a 24-hour message board, and an interactive sexual health guide. It also provides access to counselors and providers in their local communities through links to various health organizations.

In addition to The Kaiser Family Foundation, MTV is partnering with other nonprofit organizations to help maximize the impact of the Protect Yourself campaign. They include Advocates for Youth, Rock the Vote, LIFEbeat, SEX, ETC., and others.

For more information: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025; Phone: 650/854-9400; Fax: 650/854-4800; Web site:;
Web site:; Phone: 1-888-BE SAFE-1

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This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.
See Also
More Statistics on Young People and HIV/AIDS in the U.S.