Increasing Number of HIV/AIDS Cases Among Young People Shows Need for Comprehensive Sex Education, Editorial Says
The increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases among young people in North Carolina and throughout the country "raise[s] red flags about the risks some teens are taking," a Charlotte Observer editorial says. The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among teenagers ages 13 to 19 in North Carolina increased from 35 in 2001 to 57 in 2003, the editorial says, adding that many teens have expressed misconceptions about how HIV is transmitted and have reported having sex while under the influence of drugs. Risky sexual behaviors are a "continuing problem" among young people in both North Carolina and South Carolina, and health experts say that "more than teaching abstinence is necessary to address this potentially deadly problem," the editorial says. Because too many young people are "clearly ... not remaining abstinent," we "must provide ... the information they need to help them make better choices," the editorial says, adding that such information "must be available from a wide variety of sources, including schools, churches, health facilities and parents." The editorial concludes, "On this issue, ignorance can be deadly" (Charlotte Observer, 5/27).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.