U.S. Should Provide Youth With Comprehensive Sex Education To Prevent HIV Transmission, Other STIs, Opinion Piece Says
It is "urgent" that the U.S. "stop the focus" on abstinence-until-marriage sex education programs and provide youth with "comprehensive" sexual education to help them "protect themselves" from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, Kathryn Wright, director of adolescent HIV/AIDS programs at Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, writes in a Detroit Free Press opinion piece. Programs that focus on abstinence until marriage have "not been shown to work" in preventing the spread of STIs, Wright says. These programs have "only provided shame-based, guilt-provoking messages that ultimately place barriers to healthy and responsible adult sexual decision making," according to Wright. "[T]he reality of our society is that the majority of people will engage in sex before marriage, and they need to know how to protect themselves," she adds. According to Wright, adults have a "responsibility" to teach youth about sex from a "medical and scientific perspective, and not from a judgmental and moral stance." Wright adds, "Everyone deserves...to protect [themselves] from [HIV/AIDS]" (Wright, Detroit Free Press, 6/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.