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  • Choosing the Best contains universally applicable principles designed to help all teens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, avoid sexual risk. Like heterosexual teens, LGBTQ teens are at significant risk of contracting STDs through casual sex. According to the CDC, the surest way to avoid transmission of STDs (including HIV) is to abstain from sexual contact, or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
  • These universal principles, which apply to all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, include:
    • Sexual delay is a protective factor for sexual health.
    • The greater number of lifetime sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of negative health consequences, some of which can be significant and long-term.
    • Healthy relationships may have a greater opportunity to develop when they are not complicated by sexual activity.
    • Setting boundaries, learning refusal skills, and sexual violence prevention strategies help to prevent victimization.
    • Contraception can reduce but does not eliminate risk. All sexually active teens are at risk for STDs, even if condoms are used, to varying degrees, because condoms are more/less effective against some STDs than others. (For more information about how contraception is covered, click here:
    • Reserving sex for a long-term, sexually faithful, monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner, as is typically found in marriage, is the best protection against contracting STDs or sexually transmitted HIV.
  • All Choosing the Best programs have a strong emphasis on treating others with dignity and respect, which is the basis for inclusivity as well as anti-bullying.
    • E.g., “Respect means showing regard for the worth of someone—including yourself. Respect for others requires us to treat all human beings, regardless of how much they are similar or different from ourselves, as having dignity and rights equal to our own.” 
  • All Choosing the Best programs utilize photos representing students of diverse and varied backgrounds, along with universally applicable imagery and text inclusive to all students.
  • At the beginning of every Choosing the Best Leader’s Guide, which is reviewed with Teachers during training, the following is stated:

Choosing the Best programs contain universally applicable principles that are designed to help all students avoid sexual risk, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Like heterosexual students, LGBTQ teens are at significant risk of contracting STDs through casual sex, and benefit from the core message that sexual delay is a protective factor to one’s health and future. 

  • In the Leader’s Guide for every program, within “Teaching the Program” instructions, the following is provided for the Teacher:

Please be sensitive to the possibility that some students in your class may have already had sex. The goal and tone of this program is to provide these students with positive, encouraging messages about the benefits of making healthier choices going forward (not to create guilt or shame about past choices). These encouraging messages are emphasized in several of the program activities. 

Please note that some students may have personal questions that are beyond the scope of the materials. In these situations, please refer students to a school counselor or nurse, per your district guidelines.

  • In the Leader Guides for all programs, at the beginning of every chapter, the following is stated. 

Teacher’s Note: These key teaching points apply to all teens, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.