Comprehensive Sexual Health & HIV/AIDS InstructionInformation on comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS/STD prevention; includes legal requirements for education in these areas and additional resources for quality instructional programs.
Enacted January 1, 2016, this law integrates the instruction of comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. The bill renamed the California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act to the California Healthy Youth Act. The bill requires school districts to ensure that all pupils in grades seven to twelve, inclusive, receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education.
California Healthy Youth Act
The California Healthy Youth Act has five primary purposes:
- To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections and from unintended pregnancy;
- To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills they need to develop healthy attitudes concerning adolescent growth and development, body image, gender, sexual orientation, relationships, marriage, and family;
- To promote understanding of sexuality as a normal part of human development;
- To ensure pupils receive integrated, comprehensive, accurate, and unbiased sexual health and HIV prevention instruction and provide educators with clear tools and guidance to accomplish that end;
- To provide pupils with the knowledge and skills necessary to have healthy, positive, and safe relationships and behaviors
For information on the California Healthy Youth Act, California Education Code (EC) sections 51930–51939, please visit the California Legislative Information web page .
These sections of the EC address both comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. The law requires that both comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education are taught once in middle school and once in high school.A school district must provide comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education consisting of age-appropriate instruction earlier than grade seven using instructors trained in the appropriate courses. A school district that elects to offer comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education earlier than grade seven may provide age appropriate and medically accurate information on any of the general topics contained in paragraphs (51934(1) to (10), inclusive, of subdivision (a).
“Comprehensive sexual health education” means education regarding human development and sexuality, including education on pregnancy, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections (EC 51931).
“HIV prevention education” means instruction on the nature of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and AIDS, methods of transmission, strategies to reduce the risk of HIV infection, and social and public health issues related to HIV and AIDS (EC 51931).
Abstinence from sexual activity and injection drug use shall be taught within the context of comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education (EC 51934), however, abstinence-only education is not permitted in California public schools.The following do not qualify as comprehensive sexual health or HIV prevention education, and therefore, are not subject to the same rules that govern comprehensive sexual health and HIV prevention education (EC 51932):
This chapter does not apply to description or illustration of human reproductive organs that may appear in a textbook, adopted pursuant to law, if the textbook does not include other elements of comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education as defined in EC Section 51931.This chapter does not apply to instruction, materials, presentations, or programming that discuss gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation, relationships, or family and do not discuss human reproductive organs and their functions.
Superintendent Letter Clarifying The California Health Youth Act
The purpose of the California Healthy Youth Act is to provide every student with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect their sexual and reproductive health from unintended pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions and answers regarding the California Healthy Youth Act on the California Department of Education web page.
Provides information regarding new laws for comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education.
Sexual Health Education Accountability Act
Provides information on the requirements of the Sexual Health Education Accountability Act.
Provides information on curriculum and how to obtain curriculum for loan.
Checklist for Guest Speakers
EC Section 51936 permits school districts to contract with guest speakers to provide comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. All outside consultants and guest speakers shall have expertise in comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education and have knowledge of the most recent medically accurate research on the relevant topic or topics covered in the instruction. If school districts do use outside consultants, their instruction shall comply with all requirements listed in EC sections 51930–51939.
For information on this section of the CHYA, (EC Section 51936), please visit the California Legislative web page .For information on determining if an outside speaker is adhering to EC for comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education. Please visit the CDE Checklist for Guest Speakers web page.
California Youth Risk Behavior Survey
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) provides data on health-risk behaviors among ninth through twelfth grade students, including behaviors that contribute to injuries and violence; alcohol or other drug use; tobacco use; sexual risk behaviors; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. You can find information about California’s YRBS results as well as compare to other states and other Local Education Agencies within California on the California Department of Education (CDE) web page.
Resources for High Priority Counties
Resources for teachers and students that include local clinical sites and, if available, local 24/7 emergency hotlines for youth based on environmental scans of the high priority counties as identified by STD rates, Unintended Teen Birth Rates, and HIV rates.
Statewide & National Sexual Health Resources
A list of statewide and national resources for students and teachers on clinical services, medically accurate sexuality information, and comprehensive sexual health educational materials, including 24/7 emergency hotlines.You can find information about statewide and national sexual health resources on the CDE Statewide & National Sexual Health Resources web page.
Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group
The California Adolescent Sexual Health Work Group provides data tables and charts for adolescent births, AIDS and STDs.
California Department of Public Health
Adolescent Health Data and Statistics
Surveillance and program data and statistics related to adolescent health in California.
Sexually Transmitted Disease California Data
Provides statewide data as well as local health jurisdiction data rankings for better program planning, and improved planning for resource allocation and interventions.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
School Health Profiles Data
A system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, and territories.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS)
The YRBSS monitors six types of health-risk behaviors that contribute to the leading causes of death and disability among youth and adults.
HIV prevention instruction and training is mandated by Education Code sections 51933, 51934 and 51935. Local educational agencies make an annual choice to receive funding for various mandated programs and activities through either the Mandate Block Grant or through the claim reimbursement process administered by the State Controller’s Office pursuant to Government Code Section 17560.
For information on the Mandate Block Grant, please visit the California Department of Education web page.
For information on the mandated claim reimbursement process administered by the State Controller's Office pursuant to GC Section 17560. Please visit the State Controller’s Office web page .
Local educational agencies that elect the claim reimbursement process may recover costs for:
Providing parental notification regarding HIV instruction:
- Printing and postage for the required notification
- In-service training
- Developing in-service training programs and materials
- Developing/updating curricula and materials
- Selecting and purchasing curricula and instructional materials
- Planning HIV prevention instruction
- Holding curriculum reviews for parents
- Making alternative education activities available
- Non-classroom teacher costs of instructing students on HIV prevention in mandated grade levels (includes nurses, resource teachers, consultants, and outside speakers)
Medically accurate and objective information and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (EC 51930 - 51939).
HIV Fact Sheets
Medically accurate and objective fact sheets from the CDC (EC 51930-51939).
Guidelines for HIV/AIDS Prevention Instruction
This California Department of Education publication provides guidelines for state-mandated HIV/AIDS prevention education in California middle and high schools.
Birth Control Guide (PDF)
Provides a chart detailing all federal Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods in preventing pregnancy, including, but not limited to, emergency contraception (EC 51933 ).
Medically accurate and objective fact sheet from the CDC on the effectiveness of male latex condoms, prevention of HIV/AIDS, and sexually transmitted diseases (EC 51934 ).
STD Fact Sheets for Youth (English and Spanish)
Medically accurate and objective fact sheets on STDs designed for youth from the CDC (EC 51930 - 51939).
Prior to providing instruction in comprehensive sexual health education or HIV prevention education, Education Code (EC) 51938 requires school districts to notify parents of the instruction and to make materials available for parents to review. School districts may notify parents/guardians at the beginning of the school year or at least 14 days prior to instruction. Districts shall allow parents to withdraw their child from class upon receiving a signed, written request, using a passive consent or "opt-out" policy for required comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention instruction. Districts shall not adopt an active consent or "opt-in" policy for parental consent for required comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention instruction.For information on the California Healthy Youth Act, Notice and Parental Excuse, Education Code section 51938, please visit the California Legislative Information web page .
Schools may administer assessments relating to students’ health behaviors and risks, including tests, questionnaires, and surveys. Parents/guardians shall be given prior notice of these assessments, the opportunity to review the assessment instrument, and may withdraw their child from the assessment. In grades seven through twelve, schools may use either a passive consent ("opt-out" policy) for parental consent for assessments or prior written consent. In earlier grades, schools shall use an active consent or ("opt-in" policy) for parental consent for assessments.
Sample Notification LetterThe sample parent/guardian notification letter (DOCX) is available here.
Comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education shall be taught by instructors trained in the appropriate courses. Education Code (EC) 51935 requires school districts to cooperatively plan and conduct in-service training for all teachers and school employees who provide HIV prevention instruction. This in-service training shall be conducted periodically to enable staff to remain current with new developments in the scientific understanding of HIV as well as with new prevention education techniques. This training may be expanded to cover comprehensive sexual health education.
For information on the California Healthy Youth Act, In-Service Training, Education Code section 51935, please visit the California Legislative Information web page
The California Department of Public Health, STD Control Branch, in collaboration with the California Department of Education, Coordinated School Health and Safety Office, can offer free local in-person trainings for LEA staff and community partners. Please e-mail STDHealthEd@cdph.ca.gov to inquire.
Your local county office of education may also be available to provide local trainings, especially as part of a Comprehensive Sexual Education Network (CSE Network). Please contact your local county office of education to inquire.
Also, in partnership with the California Department of Public Health, STD Control Branch, and the California Prevention Training Center, trainings are available for those who want to build their knowledge and capacity in sexual health and sexuality education. And yes, The California Healthy Youth Act is part of this training. Upon the successful completion of required and elective modules, participants will receive a Sexual Health Educator (SHE) Training Program Certificate of Completion.
EC 51936 permits school districts to contract with guest speakers to provide comprehensive sexual health education and HIV/AIDS prevention education. If school districts do use outside consultants, their instruction shall comply with all requirements listed in EC 51933 and 51934.
Please refer to the Checklist for Guest Speakers.