DASH Partner Update – April 2020

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Dear Partners,

As you know, CDC has been actively engaged in the COVID-19 Response. Many DASH staff have deployed and are serving the response in a range of capacities from manning quarantine stations to developing guidance for communities, businesses, and schools.  Since early March, I have been deployed to CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to stand up and lead the COVID-19 Community Intervention Task Force. This task force developed much of the guidance for communities, including the CDC Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools. Partnership is the key to creating a safer and healthier country, and I want to thank all of you and those in your organizations who have also stepped up to support the nation’s response to COVID-19. CDC’s COVID-19 resources and guidance related to schools and communities are linked below; thank you for continuing to disseminate this information to your respective networks.

While CDC’s COVID-19 response will continue, we also know that it is critical to keep moving ahead with the valuable mission-related work of DASH and our partners. With that in mind,  I write to you today in observance of National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD). While I know it may be hard to look ahead when there is still much work to be done to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we must continue to plan for the future.  Schools will reopen and continue to educate our youth about HIV prevention and support them in ways that only schools can. We will be here, with the help of our partners, to provide them with the tools and resources needed to live healthy and successful lives. We know our work will be more important than ever.

On our website, you can find a variety of tools and resources to help plan your NYHAAD activities and educate stakeholders and community members about youth HIV prevention. Resources include: HIV and youth fact sheets, school- and community-based health services resources, sample social media messages, and infographics.

I am very grateful to DASH’s partners for everything that you and your organizations do for our nation’s youth during this challenging time and beyond. Hang in there!


Kathleen A. Ethier, Ph.D.
Director, Division of Adolescent and School Health
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

COVID-19 Resources

CDC’s COVID-19 guidance provides recommendations on how to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the nation. These resources include guidance on implementing community mitigation plans, strategies on how to communicate with children and students about COIVD-19, and responses to frequently asked questions. For the most update information regarding COVID-19, please visit CDC’s page for schools, workplaces and communities which includes other helpful resources:

CDC/DASH Updates and Resources
  • National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) is April 10th: This annual health observance was created to educate the public about the national impact of HIV on young people. In support of the day, DASH produced a CDC.gov feature, NYHAAD toolkit, and is joining with partners to promote primary prevention and education as critical steps toward ending the HIV epidemic in the U.S.
  • DASH Launches New Pinterest Board: DASH has expanded its presence on social media with the addition of the Healthy Youth Pinterest board. The new Pinterest board joins the existing Healthy Youth website and @CDC_DASH Twitter handle to help disseminate accurate information around student sexual health. With many educators and parents already regularly frequenting Pinterest, this platform is an ideal place to expand DASH’s presence and provide facts and resources offered through our “pins.” We invite you to follow our new board and share the content.
  • 2020 School Health Profiles Temporarily Suspended: Due to the impacts of COVID-19 the 2020 School Health Profiles are currently suspended until further notice. Since the survey has been in the field since January, data already collected will count toward overall 2020 data collection and we hope to resume operations in the fall.
  • National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) Data Coming This Summer: The National YRBS data will be released in August and awardees will be receiving status updates in the coming months.
  • Upcoming Webinar on Supporting LGBTQ Youth in Schools May 6, 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm ET
    This webinar, aimed at any school-based staff that work directly with students, presents the unique needs of sexual and gender minorities for school-based professionals. Register here.

Sexual Behaviors, Referral to Sexual Health Services, and Use of Sexual Health Services Among Transgender High School Students
This article compares sexual behaviors, school staff referrals for sexual health services, and use of sexual health services between transgender and cisgender high school students. The data in this journal articles shows that transgender students were more likely to have ever had sex, less likely to have used a condom at last sex, and more likely to have been referred for HIV testing/treatment, STD testing/treatment, and other sexual health services than cisgender students.

Violence Victimization, Substance Use Disparities, and Gender-Nonconforming Youth
Social stress has been associated with increased substance use and may lead to higher rates of high-risk substance use among gender nonconforming youth. CDC authors examined the effects of social stress between nonconforming gender expression and increased substance use among high school students in three large U.S. urban school districts.

Student reported school safety perceptions, connectedness, and absenteeism following a multiple-fatality school shooting
Researchers used data from a neighboring within-district school before and after a multiple-fatality shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, to examine safety-related perceptions/experiences, school connectedness, and absenteeism. Findings reveal negative changes to perceived school safety and absenteeism among students in a nearby school immediately following a school shooting.

 A snapshot of nonconsensual sexting: having a sexual photo shared without permission and associated health risks
Researchers used data from four large urban school districts participating in the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to study one specific type of nonconsensual sexting, which is the experience of having a sexual photo shared without permission.

Sexual Violence Victimization of Youth and Health Risk Behaviors
This study assesses associations between past-12-month sexual violence victimization and recent health risk behaviors using a nationally representative sample of male and female high school students. It is hypothesized that sexual violence victimization will be associated with most of the negative health behaviors for both sexes.

Partner Resources
  • Interactive map explores link between educational opportunity and life expectancy: A new interactive map from Child Trends allows users to explore the link between life expectancy and high school educational opportunity for teenagers in neighborhoods across the United States. Child Trends’ research finds that teenagers in neighborhoods with high educational opportunity live 9 months longer than their peers in neighborhoods with lower educational opportunity. This tool can help policymakers, health officials, and education officials begin to understand ways in which they might improve the health and lifespans of the children and youth they serve.
Upcoming Health Observances
  • April 12-18: Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) Awareness Week
  • May 12-19: National Prevention Week