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October 4, 2010

Sex-Ed in Schools Fails to Address All Birth Control Options

The lessons taught during sexual education in school are a very important part of a teen’s development as a young adult.  However, a new government report has reported that only two thirds of all teens have been taught about birth control methods and options.  Many students are not engaging enough in learning about pregnancy prevention and safe sex.  Recent data shows that after many years of constant decline, the teen birth rate rose between 2005 and 2007, and decreased again in 2008 to 10 percent of all births.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention had female interviewers from the University of Michigan conducting interviews with nearly 2,800 teenagers between 2006 and 2008.  It was found that 97% of teens had received formal sex education by the age of 18.  This included instruction from school, church, community centers, or other settings.  The content of the instruction included how to say no to sex, information on sexually transmitted infections, and information on birth control.  Lessons concerning STIs were more common than lessons on how to use a condom or other types of birth control.  In total, two thirds of teens had reported being taugh about birth control by the end of high school – about 62% of boys and 70% of girls.  On the other hand, 92% of boys and girls had reported being taugh about STIs, and almost as many had learned about preventing being infected with AIDS.  In addition, 87% of females and 81% of males were taught how to say no to sex.

Other researchers have found that there has been a decline in comprehensive sexual education from 1995 – 2002.  This decline was largely due to government policies stressing an abstinence-only policy in educational systems. Most education programs talked about the threat of STIs, but not how to use various birth control methods.  On the contrary, in the last two years, more funding has been put into sex education programs that discuss birth control options.  An earlier CDC report released earlier this year found.

Another CDC study, released earlier this year, found that teenage use of birth control and teen attitudes toward pregnancy have remained about the same since 2002.

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