One of the best ways to promote safer sex and stop the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STI) is to encourage better sexual education programs that teach young people about the dangers of these diseases. This concept has been a major topic of discussion among parents, teachers and policymakers, with many people arguing about what is appropriate to educate children about, and what should be left to learn outside of the classroom or when they are older.
Recently, the Associated Press reported on some recommendations on sexual education made by a coalition of health and education groups. The suggestions were given to states and school districts as a guideline for exactly how much students should know about sexual matters at each grade level. First, by the end of the second grade, the coalition recommends that students should be able to name all the body parts, have the knowledge that all living things reproduce and be able to explain different family structures and that people have a right not to be touched. By the end of the fifth grade, students should be able to explain the reproductive system, understand different sexual orientations and be aware of HIV and how to prevent it. Finally, by the end of high school, students should know more about the consequences of sex.
“[Students should be able to] define sexual consent and its implications for sexual decision making; explain why using tricks, threats or coercion in relationships is wrong; and compare and contrast the laws relating to pregnancy adoption, abortion and parenting,” according to the statement released by the coalition.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that adolescents are at an increased risk of contracting an STI. This suggests that more education is needed to encourage this population to use caution before engaging in sexual activity.