In the United States, there are about 850,000 teen pregnancies and almost 9.1 million sexually transmitted infections in people under the age of 25 per year (advocatesforyouth.org). This is all due to a heavy lack of sex education in many American public schools. Sex education is vital for teens and young adults; if they do not receive the proper knowledge and education they will be unaware of the risks of teen pregnancy and STDs, not to mention the importance of contraception.
According to advocatesforyouth.org, the purpose of sex education is “to teach students about condoms and contraception to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy and of infection with STD including HIV.” Sex education is incredibly important in modern society, unintentional pregnancy and STDs can really destroy a person’s life, especially that of a teenager or young adult. If a young couple accidentally get pregnant they may not be ready or have the necessary resources to take care of a baby, this leads to more and more child abandonment. The American Health Association states that in 2008, 22 million men and women aged fifteen to twenty four years old had STDs in the United States. The overall American youth population is estimated to be about 41 million. This means in the last decade, a huge majority of the youth population of the United States have had STDs. And all of this can be retraced to one thing, lack of proper sex education in the United States.
There is a comparative study that says the United States’s sex education is considerably inferior to most European countries. Attn.com says “The Netherlands educates children as young as 4 about sex. This doesn't mean children have explicit conversations about the ‘birds and the bees.’ Rather, children learn how to form relationships and to discuss sexuality,” Whereas in the United States a study shows that 41% of 18 and 19 year olds know nothing about condoms and 45% know nothing about contraception at all. In addition, only 22 states in the US require sex education in public schools, in contrast most European countries have made sex education mandatory. The United States could learn a lot about how to handle sex education in their public schools by looking at the examples set by European countries.
One of the things the US could do is simply make sex education a requirement in public schools across the country. Many countries in Europe already require it by law, and it can’t hurt not to. The only downside I can see for just requiring sex education by law is maybe it would require more money to hire a teacher, purchase textbooks, class materials, etc. but otherwise I see no other reasons not to. Another reason I think the United States hasn’t yet required sex education by law is because many people feel like it is sort of a private topic and don’t feel comfortable discussing it. In America especially adults are very sensitive about exposing their children to anything related to sex which is probably why so many American teens are uninformed about contraception and STDs.
In conclusion, sex education is an incredibly vital part of modern society and is just not being properly executed in the United States at all. It is most likely due to the budget of public schools and the discomfort of adults at acknowledging its importance. Lastly the American government needs to find some way to implement it if they want their STD and abortion rates to lower at all over the next couple of years.