There are many reasons why people argue for and against sex education being a set curriculum in our school systems, but not many people look at the facts of the issue before deciding that sex education is not right. The plain truth is that there has been a dramatic increase in the number of teenagers that have become sexually active. The age at which sexual intercourse first occurs is becoming younger. According to Stong and Devault, in 1996 17% of girls and 38% of boys admitted to having sex by the age of 15. These children that are having sex are doing it without proper knowledge of the risk they may be in. Without proper knowledge a person might go into the world thinking that as long as they use a condom, there will be no trouble. A young lady may thing that she taking a safe approach as long as she is using birth control. This is just not true, yet it is happening everywhere in America. Some may say that this problem is not as big as it is made at times, but how would they explain to alarming rates of teen pregnancy and the alarming rate of people being infected with a sexually transmitted disease.
There have been many studies done on pregnancy in the past, but many people refuse to look at the findings. Samual Hatcher is a social science expert who has conducted numerous studies on human sexuality from 1994 to present times. He noted everything from percentages of pregnancies to number of people already infected with certain sexually transmitted diseases. His findings have been backed up by other social science experts and by United States government health agencies. In his findings, Hatcher found that 12.5% of all young women in the United States, between the ages of 15 and 19, become pregnant each year.
It was also noted that and estimated 1.5 million new cases of Gonorrhea are contracted each year at which up to half of the cases go unreported. It is said that so many cases go unreported because many people have no symptoms (10% of men and 80% of women) (Hatcher 97).
Chlamydial infection is the most common sexually transmitted disease in America. There is an estimated 4 million new infections every year. This is also a disease that strikes many people without any symptoms. It is said that 40% of women with this disease will have no symptoms. It was also noted that 40% of all people that have Gonorrhea also have a Chlamydial infection. (Hatcher 96, Ortiz 98)
Syphilis is not the most common sexually transmitted disease, but is one of the more serious diseases. It is estimated that two hundred thousand people contract it each year. It is more serious that most others because it has been proven to result in paralysis, blindness, insanity, and even death if it is gone untreated. (Hatcher 97, Ashman 96)
A sexually transmitted diseases that has been getting a lot of publicity in our media today is Genital Herpes. Two hundred thousand people contract genital herpes each year. This number is small compared to the enormous amount of people contracting others diseases, but the number of people with this disease is greater because there is no know cure for genital herpes. There is an estimated 30 million people that have this disease living in the United States.
Although there are cures for many sexually transmitted diseases, there is one disease that has a mortality rate of 100%. This disease is called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, otherwise known as AIDS. AIDS is not said to be largely identified in adolescents, but 21% of all AIDS cases are identified in people in people between the ages of 20 and 29. This says a lot for teen sexuality when of remembers that it often takes ten years to exhibit any symptoms. This would put the age of contraction between 10 and 19 years of age.
Many people wonder why so many contract diseases when there is access to contraception. What many people do not know is the actual effectiveness of the contraception that is being used. When people read the effectiveness on boxes or hear them on television, they are hearing the theoretical effectiveness, not the actual effectiveness. The difference between the theoretical and the actual is that the theoretical is done under direct supervision and used exactly as recommended. The actual effectiveness is the effectiveness the contraception has in real setting. What many people do not know about contraception may startle them. I will first start with the contraception targeted toward women.
For example, the birth control pill is said to have an effectiveness of 99.9% when is reality it is only 97% effective. This number is not big until a person realizes that it is the second leading method of protection. Using birth control may help against unplanned pregnancy but does not help protect people from getting a sexually transmitted disease. A diaphragm is another popular form of contraception that many women use. The theoretical effectiveness of this method is said to be 94% effective, but actual effectiveness is only 82-94% effective depending on which study is looked at. The sponge is the last device targeted toward women. It was said to have a theoretical effectiveness of 92%, but the actual effectiveness is much different. In actuality the effectiveness of the sponge is only 67-91% effective, which had a major role in the device being deemed unfit and is now impossible to obtain legally. (Masters 95, Hatcher 96, Carroll and Wolpe 96, Ortiz 98)
The amount of contraception available to men is less than that available to women. The main contraception available to men is the condom, and it is the most highly used form of all contraception. The condom has a theoretical effectiveness of 98%. The actual effectiveness is much less and is only 88%, which is not much more than the actual effectiveness of withdrawal, which is 82% (Masters 95, Hatcher 96).
With people falsely believing they are being protected form sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy, it is no wonder why there is not a set curriculum for sex education in our country.
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