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...
References: Weinstock H et al. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Reproductive & Sexual Health 2004; 36(1):6-10.
Mosher WD et al. Sexual behavior and selected health measures: men and women, 15-44 years of age, United States, 2002. Advance Data 2005; #362:1-56.
Kirby D. Emerging Answers: Research Findings on Programs to Reduce Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2001.
Kirby D et al. Impact of Sex and HIV Education Programs on Sexual Behaviors of Youth in Developing and Developed Countries. [Youth Research Working Paper, No. 2] Research Triangle
Park, NC: Family Health International, 2005.
Alford S. Science and Success: Sex Education and Other Programs that Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth,
Hauser D. Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact [Title V State Evaluations] Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2004.
Committee on HIV Prevention Strategies in the United States, Institute of Medicine. No Time to Lose: Getting More from HIV Prevention. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000.
SIECUS. SIECUS State Profiles: a Portrait of Sexuality Education and Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in the States. New York: Author, 2004.
UNAIDS. Impact of HIV and Sexual Health Education on the Sexual Behaviour of Young People: a Review Update. Geneva, Switzerland: UNAIDS, 1997.
Baldo M et al. Does Sex Education Lead to Earlier or Increased Sexual Activity in Youth? Ninth International Conference on AIDS, Berlin, 1993. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health
Darroch JE, Singh S. Why Is Teenage Pregnancy Declining? The Roles of Abstinence, Sexual Activity, and Contraceptive Use New York: Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1999.
National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Halfway There: a Prescription for Continued Progress in Preventing Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC: Author, 2001.
Feijoo AN, Grayton C. Trends in Sexual Risk Behaviors among High School Students United States, 1991 to 1997 and 1999 to 2003. [The Facts] Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 2004.
Special Investigations Division, US House of Representatives, Committee on Government Reform The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs. Washington, DC:
______. Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs [Action of the AMA House of Delegates, CSA Report 7-I-99] Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, 1999.
Hickman-Brown Public Opinion Research. Public Support for Sexuality Education Reaches Highest Levels. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, 1999.
National Public Radio et al. Sex Education in America: NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll. Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser, 2004.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document