The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that schools are still not showing results with sex education, at least not enough to matter. It’s an issue of vital importance, given the continual rise of HIV cases and STDs in the United States.
numbers stagnated in the last two decades
In spite of a growing need for sexual education among teenagers, the advice is either not heeded or the information is not complete enough to prevent diseases or teenage pregnancy. Within the past 20 years, the CDC reports that there was been virtually no improvement in the education of children about sex in schools. The internet probably isn’t helping either.
The CDC released disappointing results since 2003 until today. The number of teenagers who have sex without a condom has increased from 59% to 63%, and 22% of them admit they had sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s worrying news considering being intoxicated before sex increases the risk of getting an STD. There’s much less care, but the problem isn’t emphasized enough.
25% of new HIV and 50% of STD cases occur in people under 25
It’s a crucial issue to tackle in the face of increasing STD cases. According to the CDC, around 25% of new HIV cases and 50% of all STD infections occur in people below the age of 25 years old. There is an unfortunate lack of education on the matter, and recklessness on the side of teenagers. The number of cases has stagnated for the past two decades. With easier-to-get information and better access, they should have gone down by now.
However, one part could be fixed. The CDC reported this calls for better sexual education taught in middle-school and high school, which is sorely lacking at the moment. There are 16 recommended topics regarding sexual education that should be approached by institutions. According to data gathered from the Adolescent and School health report, less than 50% of high schools and around 20% of middle schools in the U.S. actually tackle all the subjects.
According to Dr. Stephanie Zara from the CDC Division of Adolescent and School Health, this lack can have very serious health consequences. The population of teenagers who have unsafe sex under the influence of alcohol or drugs are at heightened risk of HIV or other STDs. It’s critical to start sexual education before they begin having sex.
Arizona shows the worst numbers
In the U.S., the problem is dire. The number of high schools which offer proper sexual education, covering all 16 recommended topics, is low. The numbers range from only 21% in Arizona to the highest 90% in New Jersey. Except the Garden State, only two others, New York and New Hampshire, have a rate higher than 75%. That means that a worrying number of high schools across the nation see to a sore lack of proper sexual education.
The situation is reportedly even worse in middle schools. Arizona once again has the lowest rate, of just 4%, and North Carolina sees to the greatest numbers at 46%. No state has more than half their middle schoolers learn about all the recommended topics regarding sexual education.
According to the CDC, this underlines the issue that there’s an urgent need to offer teenagers the skills and the information on how to protect their own health. It’s important to teach them about the dangers of unsafe sex that range beyond unwanted pregnancies. STDs are just as grave of a concern.
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