March 20, 2008

1 in 4 teenage girls has an STD?

The NYT published an article last week (the only week in so long I haven't read it, figures) on a CDC study of 838 teenage girls found that 1/4 of them had a current STD, what's more, 1/2 of all the African-American teenage girls who participated had a current STD. While I found some of the terminology problematic (infected girls, sex diseases, no real mention of teenage boys' roles in the problem, see a critique of its presentation in the Nation here), if this doesn't convince everyone that we are in dire need of a new approach to sex-education, I'm not sure what will! Clearly abstinence-only education is not the way to go, but other reports have shown that kids report knowledge of how to use condoms and the dangers of STDs, so there is still a critical piece missing between getting the information out there and kids actually feeling empowered and able to use it to make responsible decisions about sex.

On his NYT blog Will Okun talked about the need for more parental involvement in sexual education in reaction to the CDC report. His post was interesting (not sure if I agree) but I was more struck by a comment on it (by Lamont) on how our educational system can work most effectively: "It is my belief that a sound educational system resembles an equilateral triangle...with sides made up of parents, society/education system, and the students themselves. If one of the sides fails, the entire system fails. The issue is not to blame any particular side but to ensure that all sides work together to succeed."

I think this is true of any major issue (the three I would list especially are health, education, and jobs/labor) - that there needs to be the guidance role (teacher, doctor), the support role (parent, family), and the outcome factor (student, patient) working together to ensure the system succeeds. And sometimes I'm not sure that's even enough...

No comments:

Post a Comment