Do American sex education classes make the grade?

The Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention recently released grades rating U.S. schools sex education programs. American high schools received good marks, though there is room for improvement in some areas.

According to the report, 94 percent of high schools taught students the benefits of abstinence, 92 percent covered how family, friends and our culture can influence sexual behaviors, 95 percent of schools discussed what an STD is and how they are spread, while 85 percent covered how to receive products and services to aid in STD and pregnancy prevention.

High schools didn’t do as great a job providing specific information regarding condoms. Seventy percent of schools discussed the importance of condom usage, 60 percent explained how to procure condoms and 54 percent actually demonstrated how to properly use a condom.

Public health officials stress the importance of teaching sexual education in schools, specifically in an effort to reduce students risk of contracting HIV or other STDs. Teens and young adults account for nearly half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections reported yearly. Effective sex ed courses can also reduce the teen pregnancy rate, which increases the likelihood of females dropping out of school and places their children on a path of decreased health and lower achievement.

A few states, Delaware, New Hampshire and New Jersey, scored 100 percent for providing information on abstinence and an additional 15 states scored a 95 percent or higher. However, just 56 percent of Arizona high schools discussed the benefit of abstaining from sex, as did a mere 60 percent of Alaska schools.

Only 46 percent of high schools in America covered all 16 topics relating to HIV, other STDs and pregnancy prevention. Generally, we need to be more intentional and direct in providing the next generation of young people with the skills and information necessary to protect their health.


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