College - Author 1

College of Science and Mathematics

Department - Author 1

Biological Sciences Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Biological Sciences

College - Author 2

College of Science and Mathematics

Department - Author 2

Kinesiology Department

Degree - Author 2

BS in Kinesiology

College - Author 3

College of Science and Mathematics

Department - Author 3

Kinesiology and Public Health Department

Degree - Author 3

BS in Public Health

College - Author 4

College of Science and Mathematics

Department - Author 4

Kinesiology and Public Health Department

Degree - Author 4

BS in Public Health



Primary Advisor

Joni Roberts, College of Science and Mathematics, Kinesiology and Public Health Department


Purpose: Sexual health education continues to be a taboo topic underrepresented in young adult health education. Many high school students do not receive the sexual health education they need. One study found that 34% of girls and 42% of boys left high school without education on birth control methods (Wong et al., 2019). Furthermore, students entering college have varying, often inadequate, levels of sexual health knowledge. After examining sexual health data at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), the Cal Poly Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Lab found that students engage in risky sexual behaviors. For example, nearly one quarter (22.9%) of cisgender female students reported using the pull-out method as their only form of contraception the last time they had vaginal intercourse (ACHA-NCHAIII, 2021). Additionally, 42.4% of students reported using a barrier method during anal sex (ACHA-NCHAIII, 2021). These statistics are concerning as Cal Poly students believe the pull-out method is effective for birth control. Further, there is a lack of knowledge regarding the increased risks associated with unprotected anal sex. While on-campus peer health education programs have attempted to fill these gaps, no specific sexual health training is required for all students. Methods: Through the conduction of a literature review, analysis of past SRH lab & ACHA data, assessment of students' and campus partners' knowledge and needs regarding sexual health education, and a review of California State University sexual health education offerings, apparent gaps in student knowledge were identified which revealed the need for learning modules with a sexual health educational focus. Results: The Cal Poly SRH Lab is developing a set of comprehensive sexual health education learning modules. Ten modules focus on healthy sexual relationships, barrier methods, contraception, pregnancy options, STIs, testing, and access to resources. Reading material, specialized graphics and educational videos were compiled. Interactive modules were produced using the Canvas course management platform students currently use for their academic courses. Conclusions: After this resource was launched June 2023, all students now have access to reliable sexual health information in one place with complete anonymity whenever they have a question. Overall, it is predicted that the number of students regularly using a barrier method during sex will increase, STI testing rates will improve, and open conversations surrounding sexual health will become more normalized on campus.
References: American College Health Association (2021). National College Health Assessment III Fall 2021 Reference Group Data Report. Wong T, Pharr JR, Bungum T, Coughenour C, Lough NL. Effects of Peer Sexual Health Education on College Campuses: A Systematic Review. Health Promotion Practice. 2019;20(5):652-666. doi:10.1177/1524839918794632