After years of requiring sex education, reducing teen pregnancy and HIV infections remains a stubborn problem particularly among adolescents of color. A look at what’s next for addressing the major health challenges for teens.
The statistics and honest conversation from some of the callers isn’t surprising (maybe will be to some?), but the show is very good, something everyone – even childless people like me – should hear. And there are links to the study on the MPR page.
...and here’s the second link:
Improvements in Sexual and Reproductive Health of Teens and Young Adults Slowing, After a period of improvement, trends in the sexual and reproductive health of U.S. teens and young adults have flattened, …
This is the official CDC Press Release. The link to the site with the full report (downloadable PDF, bottom of page) is at the bottom of the release page.
So, what were your experiences with sex education? Did you have comprehensive sex ed? When did it start? Was it from mom or dad or another relative or trusted adult (or physician)? Or was it in school? If you received sex ed in school, does that school still offer it, or are they “abstinence only” now?
I’m from a small town in west central MN (Henning – it’s in Ottertail County, and has a whopping 738 people). I did get sex ed in 6th grade from the school nurse. Now, it was pretty basic, and really didn’t get into contraception, but it explained in blunt terms what all the parts were, how they worked, and how those boy and girl parts worked together. Yeah, we all giggled and turned red, and some of us (me) were already having our periods, so when she talked about that, some of us sat up a little straighter and listened…we could…get pregnant? But I’m 12! Wow.
To be honest, I don’t know what happens in Henning today, but I’m going to ask a teacher/friend who is still there. Do the same – find out what happened in your school.
And two things I thought were poigniant in the MPR radio program above:
- Parents need counseling and coaching to be comfortable with their OWN sexual health and knowledge so they can have those important discussions and open a dialogue with their kids.
- Even though the info wasn’t necessarily surprising, the interviews/conversations drew out the right points, AND pointed out how the move away from being comprehensive has been accompanied by an increasing rate of unplanned pregnancies in teens and very young women, and thus a growing rate of abortion.
So come on, anti-choice folks: If you REALLY want to reduce abortion, which I question considering your lack of support for education and birth control (hey, what would you have to rail against if abortion went down to a tiny figure?), you should support comprehensive sex ed. AND you need to support education of parents and of communities about teen sex, sexual health, and discussing sex with kids.
Reproductive rights/freedom/health…collectively, women’s health. This is my issue, your issue, a MN NOW issue!
I’ll be reading through the report. I ask you to do the same, and then consider how we help. And post it here.