Dear Future President
The current state of this country’s sex education is a joke. Sex education across the nation is not uniform, if present at all. Where the education is apparent, there are places using abstinence-only education, which is highly ineffective and needs to change.
Sex Education is a vital part of a child’s education. It teaches them why to delay sex until they’re ready, how to respect other people’s boundaries, and it teaches them about sexual health. Information on pregnancy and HIV prevention, such as condoms and birth control, are an important part of this curriculum. The use of condoms is highly effective when reducing the risk of contracting STI or HIV. The CDC has a fact sheet about condoms that says, “Consistent and correct use of latex condoms is highly effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.” Condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV and STDs, though only when used properly. When not used properly, the effectiveness lowers dramatically. Students need to be taught how to use one properly so when they do use one, it will work properly.
Abstinence-only education is ineffective and an overall bad idea. In these programs, kids don’t get needed education on STDs, HIV, contraceptives and condoms. In an article about abstinence programs on advocatesforyouth.org, the organization states, “Accurate, balanced sex education – including information about contraception and condoms – is a basic human right of youth. Such education helps young people to reduce their risk of potentially negative outcomes.” A majority of our states are not providing these accurate, balanced programs. As shown by guttmacher.org, 24 out of 50 states require sex education. Of these 24 states, only 18 require content on contraception to be covered.
Abstinence-only education can also have a negative effect on the minds of teens. In an editorial on why Abstinence Education isn’t effective, Christine Watkins states, “Abstinence-only sex education programs rely on fear- and shame-based messages that disparage any sexual activity outside of marriage as well as the use of condoms and contraception.” Education programs that use fear and shame to try and force a message are not the kind of programs American teens need.
If your teen had sex, would you want them to use a condom? Would you want them to have the least risk of contracting STDs while having sex? If you want teens to know how to have safe sex, then most of the sex education in this country won’t cut it. We need to step up and develop sexual education that talks about how to have safe sex in more, if not all, states.