September 18, by Nursing USC Staff When only 13 states in the nation require sex education to be medically accurate, a lot is left up to interpretation in teenage health literacy. Research published by the Public Library of Science shows that when sex education is comprehensive, students feel more informed, make safer choices and have healthier outcomes — resulting in fewer unplanned pregnancies and more protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infection. However, public schools are the best opportunity for adolescents to access formal information. Teachers are left to interpret vague legislative guidelines, meaning information might not be accurate or unbiased.
February 14th, Add a Comment After significant outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases among soldiers in World War I, the federal government became involved and allocated money to educate soldiers about gonorrhea, syphilis and chlamydia.
Inthe U. As a result in the s, sex education began to be taught in public schools. Throughout the past century, sex education has become a hotly debated topic amongst legislators, public health officials, and state education boards.
It is still a controversial subject, with people debating whether or not sex education mandates are constitutional, if sex education is appropriate for students, and what information should or should not be taught.
Each state has its own policies about sex education in schools. Although the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both recommend that all students receive a comprehensive sex education, including information about how to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy.
Only 22 states and the District of Columbia mandate that schools provide sex education. Currently, 27 states require an emphasis on an abstinence only approach to preventing pregnancy.
The schools can discuss other birth control methods, but must stress that abstinence is the main method of protection. Abstinence may be the best way to prevent pregnancy, but abstinence-only education programs have been shown to be ineffective.
Instead, they may deter teenagers from using contraceptives. Teen pregnancy rates in were highest in Mississippi and Arkansas, and both states have abstinence-only education.
The young women in these states are prone to experience the other consequences and health risks of teenage pregnancy, such as a higher likelihood of living in poverty or being in poor health. Their children have an increased risk of having health or cognitive disadvantages, and many become teen parents as well.
Additionally, schools with abstinence only education do not provide information for STD prevention. Often, students are not instructed about preventive methods, such as using condoms or receiving HPV vaccinations. In 41 states and the District of Columbia, schools that teach sex education are not required to teach medically accurate information.
They are allowed to- and often encouraged to- provide statistics that inflate the failure rate of contraceptives or emphasize only the risks of abortion. Exploiting the possible ineffectiveness of contraceptives can have devastating effects. Students who choose to engage in sexual activity may decide not to use protection, believing it will not make a difference.
Without using protection, they can risk both pregnancy and contracting STDs. Teaching inaccurate information also sets a dangerous precedent for future health instruction.
If students discover that they are not being given the truth, they may be reluctant to believe their teachers about other health issues and safety measures.
Such teachings can easily lead to an increase in stigma that many LGBT students already experience, as well as to an increase in bullying. Subsequently, they may be at a higher risk of developing anxiety or depression.
Biased sex education can ultimately result in negative public health consequences, such as an unplanned pregnancy, the transmission of STDs, and poor mental health for LGBT students. Yet despite these consequences, many states still do not mandate a comprehensive sex education program.
To learn more about sex education laws throughout the U.Sex Education in the United States. comprehensive curriculum that stresses delaying initiation of sex as the best method of protection had a teen pregnancy average of per , and finally, comprehensive sex education classes that do not mention abstinence have a teen pregnancy average of per Based purely on this .
27 states and the District of Columbia mandate that, when provided, sex and HIV education programs meet certain general requirements.
13 states require that the instruction be medically accurate. 26 states and the District of Columbia require that the information be appropriate for the students' age.
24 states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education (21 of which mandate sex education and HIV education).
33 states and the District of Columbia require students receive instruction about HIV/AIDS. 88 Sex Education in the United States HISTORY OF SEX EDUCATION IN THE U.S. The primary goal of sexuality education is the promotion of sexual health (NGTF, ). In , the World Health Organization offered this.
Tufts Public Health» Sex Education» Biased Sex Education in the United States. Biased Sex Education in the United States. February 14th, but must stress that abstinence is the main method of protection. Abstinence may be the best way to prevent pregnancy, but abstinence-only education programs have been shown to be ineffective.
Hauser D. Five Years of Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education: Assessing the Impact. Washington, DC: Advocates for Youth, ; Kirby D. Do Abstinence Only Programs Delay the Initiation of Sex Among Young People and Reduce Teen Pregnancy?
Washington DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, .