Friday, August 20, 2004

Comprehensive, What It IS

Comprehensive sex health education is a heated topic in America. Reading the comments made on this topic at http://www.lisnews.com many people appear to have wildly erroneous ideas concerning what comprehensive sex ed actually is.

Some seem to believe Comprehensive Sex Ed includes live sex shows for high students along with seminars with topics like “How to Please Your Man”.

These distortions and out-right fictions are often motivated by religion and politics. However, they are repeated with such regularity as to indicate a widespread ignorance of what comprehensive sexual education actually is.
Imagination often fills the dark gaps where ignorance casts its shadow.

Here are links that are worth a read if you want to know the kind of ideas behind Comprehensive Sex Ed. Some of the links will take you to published government papers regarding sex health education, as it is done in Canada.

Sex Info for teens
Comprehensive Sex Ed has been a fact of education in European schools, for a long time. It shows clearly in all the stats collected from Europe. HIV and other STD infection rates, among teens, are lower in Europe. Teen pregnancy rates are lower than in the US.

One number stands out as being higher than in the US. European teens tend to become sexually active later than US teens.

Canada has adopted its own Comprehensive Sex Health Education policies to measurably good effect. Many European programs are older and better funded and even more effective.

Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage programs are very much in favour with the current American administration and the administrations’ allies among the religious right.

Fewer than five percent of American high school students will be exposed to comprehensive sex ed at anytime in high school.

It shows clearly in all the stats.

One huge misconception is that comprehensive sex ed ignores or downplays the role of abstinence. Abstaining from sexual activity is included in comprehensive education and not just as a side bar. It is recognized as an effective method for avoiding disease and unwanted pregnancies.

Though it only works as long as the person is able to maintain abstinence. Then what? They don't count any more?

Comprehensive means inclusive. Abstinence-Only appears to mean just us and damn the rest of you.

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