HealthLine – The state of sex ed and awareness in some areas of the U.S.A. ranges from medically inaccurate to virtually nonexistent.
At present, only about 20 states require that sex and HIV education be “medically, factually, or technically accurate.”
Meanwhile, the definition for what’s “medically accurate” can vary by state.
While some states may require approval of the curriculum by the Department of Health, other states allow materials to be distributed that are based on information from published sources that are revered by the medical industry.
This lack of a streamlined process can lead to the distribution of incorrect information.
Healthline and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), an organization dedicated to promoting sexual education, conducted a survey that looked at the state of sexual health in the United States. Below are the results.
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Access to education
In our survey, which polled more than 1,000 Americans, only 12 percent of respondents 60 years and older received some form of sexual education in school.
Meanwhile, only 33 percent of people between 18 and 29 years old reported having any.
While some previous studies have found that abstinence-only education programs don’t protect against teen pregnancies and STIs, there are many areas in the United States where this is the only type of sexual education provided.
States like Mississippi require schools to present sexual education as abstinence-only as the way to combat unwanted pregnancies. Yet Mississippi has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies, ranking third in 2016.
This is in contrast to New Hampshire, which has the lowest rate of teen pregnancies in the United States. The state teaches health and sex education as well as a curriculum dedicated to STIs starting in middle schools.
To date, 35 states and the District of Columbia also allow for parents to opt-out of having their children participate in sex ed. Read more.