Sexual Health news - Sexual Health and Behavior

New York sex education fails to correctly inform students

Teaching adolescents about safe sex may be a challenging task, but it gives students the information they need to make responsible decisions that may prevent teenage pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, researchers found that 82 public schools in New York state not only failed to offer the necessary resources to students, but provided "inaccurate, incomplete and biased" information, as reported by the Buffalo News.

Teachers give the wrong facts

Study's investigators from the civil rights organization New York Civil Liberties Union analyzed the abstinence-only textbooks and brochures used for sex ed at these schools for the 2008 to 2009 and the 2010 to 2011 school years. They found that there was incorrect medical information. For instance, one handout said "if you get AIDS you will probably die of the disease, but that's all we know." Another stated that only homosexual men and injectible drug users are at risk of contracting HIV.

In addition, one worksheet from the Yorkshire-Pioneer District negatively stereotyped women and described them as "hazardous material."

Many sexually active teens aren't having safe sex

When it came to interviewing the students who attended the 82 schools in the study, researchers found that 45 percent of males in high school reported that they were sexually active, as well as 40 percent of the females, the news source explains. Out of these individuals, one in three guys do not use condoms and four out of five girls did not take birth control.

Teen pregnancy is a big issue around the world. In the U.S. alone, nearly 370,000 infants were born to women who were between the ages of 15 and 19 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This may be a result of poor sexual education like that seen in the New York public schools under scrutiny. The rate of these pregnancies has decreased over the years, but there is still a large population of teens who engage in risky sexual behavior.

Moreover, the New York State Department of Public Health reports that STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea are most often diagnosed among 15 to 25-year-olds.

Another thing that the researchers noted in their analysis was that 63 percent of districts did not teach about bullying, 42 percent avoided the topic of sexual harassment and 28 percent refrained from discussing rape, according to figures cited by Times Union. Tackling these issues is essential for making teens more aware of potential dangers so that they protect themselves and stay safe.