Effective Sex Education
Each year, U.S. teens experience as many as 850,000 pregnancies, and youth under age 25 experience about 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections (STIs).1,2 By age 18, 70 percent of U.S. females and 62 percent of U.S. males have initiated vaginal sex.3 Comprehensive sex education is effective at assisting young people to make healthy decisions about sex and to adopt healthy sexual behaviors.4,5,6,7 No abstinence-only-until-marriage program has been shown to help teens delay the initiation of sex or to protect themselves when they do initiate sex.8,9,10,11 Yet, the U.S. government has spent over one billion dollars supporting abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.12 Although the U.S. government ignores it, adolescents have a fundamental human right to accurate and comprehensive sexual health information.8,11
Comprehensive Sex Education Is Effective, Does Not Promote Sexual Risks. ●
Research has identified highly effective sex education and HIV prevention programs that affect multiple behaviors and/or achieve positive health impacts. Behavioral outcomes have included delaying the initiation of sex as well as reducing the frequency of sex, the number of new partners, and the incidence of unprotected sex, and/or increasing the use of condoms and contraception among sexually active participants.4,5,6,7 Long-term impacts have included lower STI and/or pregnancy rates. 4,5,6,7 No highly effective sex education or HIV prevention education program is eligible for federal funding because mandates prohibit educating youth about the benefits of condoms and contraception.13 Evaluations of comprehensive sex education and HIV/STI prevention programs show that they do not increase rates of sexual initiation, do not lower the age at which youth initiate sex, and do not increase the frequency of sex or the number of sex partners among sexually active youth.4,5,6,7,14,15 Between 1991 and 2004, the U.S. teen birth rate...
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