Earlier this week the CDC reported that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to a first-of-its-kind study done of more than 800 teenage girls aged 14-19. This statistic alone should raise alarms and serve as further evidence of the increasing need for schools to implement comprehensive sex education that would educate teens about how to best protect themselves and make healthy life decisions.Adolescent health experts, educators and members of the CDC agree. Dr. Elizabeth Alderman, an adolescent medicine specialist at Montefiore Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital in New York, said of the study, “This is pretty shocking.” And she went on to note that teen girls – and boys too – need to be informed about how to protect themselves if they do have sex.The study found that roughly half of the participants acknowledged having sex, though some teens define sex as only intercourse despite the fact that other types of intimate behavior, including oral and anal sex, can spread diseases. Among those girls who reported that they had had sex, 40 percent tested positive for an STD.As the federal government continues to fund abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that censor important information about the effectiveness of condom usage at an alarming $176 million dollars a year, the CDC’s study points to the need for communities, educators and lawmakers to start looking for ways to fund sex education programs that will keep teens informed about their health.
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