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A Theory-Based Pregnancy, HIV, and Sexually
Transmitted Disease Prevention Program

It's Your Game...Keep It Real

Frequently Asked Questions

Who funded and developed IYG?

The IYG curriculum was developed by faculty/researchers at the UTPRC, which is part of The University of Texas School of Public Health. While the UTPRC received feedback from a Community Advisory Group, parents, and teens, only the UTPRC played a role in the development of IYG.

The development of IYG and the effectiveness study were funded by the National Institute of Mental Health from 2002 to 2007. A subsequent study was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2006 to 2010. This study tested the effectiveness of the IYG abstinence-until-marriage (risk avoidance) version as well as that of the original IYG (risk reduction) version. Both versions of the IYG curriculum were developed by faculty/researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health.

What is the goal of IYG?

The primary goal of IYG is abstinence. We strongly endorse abstinence as the most effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Unfortunately, many teens will still choose to engage in some type of sexual activity so we need to educate them—as appropriate for their age—how to protect themselves from pregnancy and STIs. IYG uses a life-skills approach to teach healthy decision-making by emphasizing goal-setting, personal accountability, forming healthy relationships, and refusal skills.

How does IYG focus on abstinence?

Abstinence is the primary focus and message of IYG, so the curriculum encourages abstinence over every other behavior. Abstinence is endorsed more than 80 times in each level of the curriculum. In addition to the word “abstinence,” IYG uses wording designed to be most understandable and relatable to teens:

  • Choose not to have sex

  • Choose to wait

  • Most teens your age are not having sex

  • The only 100% effective way to avoid the consequences of sex (including pregnancy and STIs) is choosing to not have sex

Today’s teens engage in many risky behaviors—often because they have not been educated about the sometimes deadly consequences that may be associated with them. IYG speaks frankly and clearly about these behaviors and sets them in a clear context for teens. We must be clear about how risky behaviors spread STIs, most notably HIV.

How do we know that IYG works?

We know IYG works because two separate rigorous studies confirmed it (Markham et al., 2012; Tortolero et al., 2010). Results from these research studies showed that IYG delayed sexual initiation, increased intentions to abstain from sex, increased positive beliefs about abstinence, increased confidence to refuse sex, and changed perceptions of peer norms about abstinence among students who participated in the curriculum.

The IYG curriculum is nationally recognized and has received the following recommendations and awards:

  • What Works 2011–2012: Curriculum-Based Programs That Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2011. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

  • The Digital Media Award from the Public Health Education and Health Promotion section of the American Public Health Association, 2010.

  • Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Replication of Evidence-Based Programs (Tier 1), 2010. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Adolescent Health.

  • What Works 2010: Curriculum-Based Programs That Help Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2010. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

  • Science Says #43: Effective and Promising Programs for Latino Youth, 2010. Washington, DC: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

How was IYG developed?

The IYG curriculum was created using a scientific process for developing health promotion and prevention programs. IYG is developmentally and age-appropriate and in full accordance with the Texas Education Code (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS). The lessons were carefully developed to build upon each other, beginning with how to have healthy friendships in 7th grade and concluding with more sensitive topics in 8th grade. The IYG curriculum was independently reviewed for medical accuracy by a national panel of experts.

Why does IYG target middle school students?

IYG was developed for middle school students because research indicates that by the time teens enter high school, it may be too late. In Texas, almost 10% of 6th graders have already had sex, and this percentage increases to over 30% among 9th graders. By the time they reach 12th grade, over 70% of teens have started having sex. Thus, it is critical to reach teens early.

IYG is developmentally and age-appropriate, covering many sexual health topics in accordance with the implementation guidelines provided in the recently released National Sexuality Education Standards: Content and Skills, K–12.

What is the mission and purpose of the UTPRC?

The UTPRC’s broader mission is to improve child and adolescent health through a collaboration of academic, public health, and community partnerships engaged in scholarly, community-based prevention research, research translation, and education. First and foremost, the UTPRC’s focus is on preventing adverse health outcomes in teens. By developing, implementing, and disseminating fact-based human sexuality education in middle schools, we aim to prevent these outcomes and to improve the health of children and adolescents. We fully support school districts and other organizations in adopting and implementing ANY effective, fact-based human sexuality curriculum that works best for their district.

With which organizations does the UTPRC partner?

UTPRC researchers collaborate with more than 50 community youth-serving organizations, including academic institutions, medical and health providers, and local health departments. For a complete list of our Community Advisory Group (CAG) representatives, please visit the UTPRC website (https://sph.uth.edu/research/centers/chppr/prc/). Our CAG has been chaired by members of several different community organizations, and each of those chairs was elected by member agencies, not the UTPRC.

What is the “social marketing campaign” that the UTPRC is conducting?

The UTPRC has partnered with the communications firm Luntz Global in order to be better able to provide information to parents, educators, and the general public about these issues in an accurate and relevant way, so that they, in turn, can make informed decisions and be involved in public dialogue around these topics. The information we learn through this partnership may inform a social marketing campaign in the future.