Illinois action blog

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Teens Say They Need the Facts When it Comes to Sex Education

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting today that a Student Advisory Council (which was state-appointed and is made up of teens from across Illinois) recommended to a State Board of Education committee that all Illinois public high schools be required to teach sex education.

The students also recommended that sex education programs include comprehensive sexual health information, as they feel that abstinence-only programs alone fail to provide the necessary information teens need to be safe and healthy. Illinois does not currently require public schools to teach sex education, although if they do have a sex education program, they are required to focus on abstinence.

The conclusions of the Student Advisory Council are in line with a number of recent studies and alarming trends that beg for a comprehensive sex education approach - one that includes information on contraceptives and sexually-transmitted infections:

- In December 2007 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that the teen birth rate for the nation as a whole increased for the first time in 15 years in 2006.

- In March 2008 a CDC study found that nearly 1 in 4 young women in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 19 years old is infected with at least one sexually transmitted infection.

- According to one study, Illinois ranks eighth nationally among states with the largest number of new AIDS cases for 2006, accounting for 3.5% of the national total of new AIDS diagnoses.

About 750,000 teenagers in the U.S. will become pregnant this year alone and half of all sexually active people will have a sexually transmitted infection by age 25. TEENS NEED THE FACTS when it comes to sex and staying healthy. They're asking for the truth, and they deserve it.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood of Illinois, sex education, STDs, teen pregnancy


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