Tennessee teens are missing out on sexual education
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Recently, The Commercial Appeal, a Tennessee news source reported that Memphis City Schools (MCS) have earned a failing grade in sexual health education, according to Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region.
Individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 represent 25 percent of the sexually active population, yet account for half of all new sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is why it's so important to educate young people about STD prevention methods such as safer sex and abstinence. A 2011 survey conducted by the CDC found that since 2009, the number of sexually active teens in Memphis has remained constant or increased.
"These students weren't getting the kind of sex education they need to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies," said Joan Carr, Planned Parenthood director of community affairs, quoted by the news source.
The survey showed that 62 percent of responding students had already had sex, which is up from 61 percent in 2009. Shockingly, 15 percent said they had engaged in sex before the age of 12. Furthermore, the 2011 survey found that almost 23 percent reported never having been taught about AIDS or HIV infection in school, compared with 20.6 percent two years before.
Clearly, this survey suggests that many teens in the Volunteer State are sexually active and need to be educated on how to keep themselves safe. For example, these young people should be encouraged to visit STD testing centers in Tennessee if they are not using condoms.
New state legislation requires that schools promote abstinence exclusively. According to Carr, this curriculum may not take into account the needs of students who are already sexually active. The school district said that while the state does not mandate sexual education after the ninth grade, MCS offers a year-long course for high school students that focuses on pregnancy and STD prevention.
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