Teachers are left to interpret vague legislative guidelines, meaning information might not be accurate or unbiased. The gap between the sex education students should receive and what they actually receive is wide. There is broad public support for sex ed, but many young people are still not receiving the sex education they need. So whose responsibility is it to make sure young people have the information they need to make healthy choices? This type of instruction is a central source of information for adolescents. However, public schools are the best opportunity for adolescents to access formal information. Despite these declines in formal education, there was no increase in the proportion of teens who discussed these same sex education topics with their parents. Who Supports Sex Education? Many of these programs have resulted in delayed sexual debut, reduced frequency of sex and number of sexual partners, increased condom or contraceptive use, or reduced sexual risk-taking.
Kosciw JG et al. Pew Research Center, , http: The first dedicated federal funding stream for evaluation of adolescent sexual health programs was established in and has contributed to improvement in the quality and quantity of evaluation research. These topics range from basic information on how HIV and other STDs are transmitted - and how to prevent infection - to critical communication and decision-making skills. According to Nash, including these skills is part of progressive trends across the country, where states have begun to require discussions of sexual consent, harassment and sexual orientation. Granger said school programs need to work on adapting to current health issues and trends that affect the scope of sexual health literacy. Fuentes L et al. Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health concluded that when sex education included information about contraception, teens had a lower risk of pregnancy than adolescents who received abstinence-only or no sex education. Even when sex education is required, state policies still vary widely regarding the inclusion of critical information. Here we consider the role of parents, health care providers and digital media as potential sources of sexual health information for adolescents. Other states have a more volatile history with regulating sex education. Health Outcomes The impact of sex education policies becomes more clear when considering that in , the United States had higher rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease than most other industrialized countries. National Academies Press, American Academy of Pediatrics, It can take years for policies to change, even in the most progressive states. Granger said that in order to be comprehensive, sex education programs have to consider the whole student. Goesling B et al. Granger said that in her clinical experience, teens will make a decision to engage in sexual activity whether or not they feel adequately informed, leaving health professionals with an opportunity to promote sexual health literacy. The gap between the sex education students should receive and what they actually receive is wide. Was this information helpful? 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. Sex Education is widely supported by the vast majority of people in the United States. Some states expect that sexual orientation will get discussed at home, but the reality is that many students feel they lack the relationships to comfortably ask parents, teachers or peers about health information related to orientation. But discrepancies persist across communities over the responsibility of providing meaningful sex education. Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, Abstinence-only-until-marriage policies and programs:
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