Young people will seek out information about sex no matter what.
Newly contracted sexually transmitted infections are at an all-time high among young folks even though teenage pregnancy is down. Young people, 15 to 24, represent 25 percent of the sexually active population but acquire half of all new STIs, according to the CDC. While birth control is easier to access, young people are not using condoms and other barrier protections — and our lack of comprehensive sex education is to blame.
Teaching limited information courses on HIV and AIDS alone is not the same as walking young people through comprehensive and inclusive sex education, including STI prevention.
Adding an elective course in which students may receive comprehensive sexual education is classist and ableist. By making this information only available to students who are able to take elective courses in the first place, you’re punishing students who may need to fill that slot with remedial lessons, students who are separated because of a disability, and students whose parents don’t understand how vital the information is. It is not enough to offer an elective; comprehensive sex education must be accessible to everyone by being a mandatory educational requirement.