¡Cuídate! - Overview

Project Youth OCBF recently tailored and adapted ¡Cuídate!, an evidenced-based HIV program model.

¡Cuídate!, which means “take care of yourself,” is a culturally-based, group-level intervention to reduce HIV sexual risk behavior among Latino youth. It is based on Social Cognitive Theory, Theory of Reasoned Action, and Theory of Planned Behavior, and incorporates cultural beliefs that are common among Latino subgroups and associated with sexual risk behavior.

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Latino youth, aged 12-18, who attend continuation/alternative schools in the city of Santa Ana

Why We Offer This Program

Latino youth are disproportionately represented in Orange County’s social service, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems and are particularly vulnerable to STI’s and teen pregnancy. While Latinos represent 47% of Orange County youth, they account for 87% of youth gang members, 67% of youth probationers, 70% of high school dropouts and 87% of teen mothers (96% of the teen mothers under age 15 and 92% of the teen mothers between 15-17 years of age). Our target city of Santa Ana has a majority Latino population that accounts for 89% of its youth and is home to the greatest hardship indicators in the county. The need for youth sexual and reproductive health services in Santa Ana is immense, as evidenced by its CASHNI score of 1448, the 13th highest in all of California.

Overall, Orange County has one of the lower teen birth rates in California. Despite this, the high teen birthrate among Latinas in Santa Ana (91.9%) far exceeds all other high-risk cities in the county, the state average (25.7%), and the national average (29.4%).

Over the past ten years, the STI rate among youth has increased by 24% in Orange County. During this time, the chlamydia rate has increased by 23%. This increase is largely due to the growing rate of chlamydia infections among Latina youth, who have a chlamydia rate of 41%. The gonorrhea rate among Latino males in Orange County is also disproportionately high (58.1%), compared to county average of 46.8%.


  • The 20th Annual Report on the Conditions of Children in Orange County 2014. Center for Collaboration for Children, California State University, Fullerton.
  • 2012 California Adolescent Sexual Needs Health Index (CASHNI). Sacramento: California Department of Public Health, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Program; 2014
  • Takahashi E, Florez C, Ahmad S. Teen Births in California: A Resource for Planning and Policy, Office of Family Planning, California Department of Public Health, November 2008.
  • Orange County Women’s Health Policy Brief: Teen Reproductive Health. Orange County Women’s Health Project, October 2014. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Data Tables. California Department of Public Health; STD Control Branch; June 13, 2013.
  • Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health, Orange County, California Department of Health, 2012.
  • California Local Health Jurisdiction STD Data Summaries, California Department of Public Health, 2013 Provisional Data.

In the News

“Rising Youth Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates Hit Hard in Santa Ana, Anaheim” – Amy DePaul, Voice of OC

Annual Recognition

Congratulations to Jesse Penunuri, Parent Liaison, Santa Ana Unified School District, who was honored at the OCBF Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 8, 2016, with the Outstanding School Partner Award. Penunuri has been integral in the implementation of the ¡Cuídate! program at Cesar Chavez High School and Lorin Griset Academy.

Get Started!

Sessions are held at middle and high schools in Santa Ana, as well as selected foster care sites. Contact Frances Torres at (714) 480-1925, ext. 122 for more information.

Let's Get Started!

Call or email us today. Bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff available.
Frances Torres Health Educator 714.480.1925 x122
Manny Gutierrez Health Educator 714.480.1925 x114
Natalie Sanchez Health Educator 714.480.1925 x120