Yes abstinence is the right way, but…

With sexually transmitted disease rates on the rise across the country, according to a report by Fox News out of El Paso, Texas, more needs to be done, and needs to be done immediately on the debate over teaching abstinence or allowing schools to teach students a more n depth look at sex and STDs.

Let not kid ourselves, abstinence is the best way to go, when it comes to prevention of STDs. It is the only way to stop teen pregnancies, the spread of chlamydia, syphilis or HIV/AIDs.

If everyone waits until the get married to have sex and everyone promises to never cheat and stay faithful, then STDs will never be spread again and eventually die off. Lets not kid ourselves again, this is not going to happen. It is really not going to happen when you are teaching this method to young teenagers who are first discovering their sexuality, and are going to be curious.

This is why the sex ed bill in Wisconsin is something that every state should utilize.

In this opinion piece by by Teri Huyck, it states how abstinence is clearly the way to stopping STDs but it acknowledges the almost certainty that this is not going to happen. Because we all know that the complete abstinence is not really an option, it only makes more sense to teach all of the options for students.

By teaching all the options to kids, they at least have all of the proper information needed to decide how they want to be when it comes to sexual activity. If you teach them absteincen but find themselves in a situation, they may not know what to do or how to use a condom. They also may not know other risks such as how some contraceptive methods do not prevent against STDs.

I do not understand why there is a debate still going on. Yes abstinence is a way to make sure STDs do not get spread, but there is no way to get everyone to do it, so why teach it. Teach a method that gives everyone the information needed to make the right decision then leave it up to them.

Girls should be more concearned about STDs

Sexually transmitted diseases are a concern for everyone; a major concern for everyone. But it is an even bigger concern for females, as unfair as that is.

Many STDs do not affect men, and others don’t show up on the male body, but do on women, and other STDs are even racist, showing up more frequently in African American than in white females. A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention has released a report stating how one in four girls between the ages of 19 and 24 have had or have an STD. I have five sisters all in just about the age range, so you can figure out what that means as far as the odds of one of them having had one at some point in time.

Now I am not saying STDs should be left up to females, and females only, to take charge in the fight to stop them. his is a fight that everyone needs to be fighting, but because of how it affects women, I feel they should be pushing more. Every female needs to know the risks and stand up when the are faced with a situation that puts them at risk.

It is unfair the way that STDs are bias, but at the same time there is nothing we can do but fight them.

There are some women who are taking steps to fight STDs. The widow, Chinara Butler, of Pimp C, a former rapper is starting a foundation for disease prevention. In an attempt to raise awareness for HIV and other STDs, Butler has started the foundation that will have a rap battle, for those who get tested  with the winner taking home $1,000.

This is just one thing that is being done, and I’m sure there are hundreds of others being done by women all over the country, but more can be done and should be done.

Sex sells so use it

With World AIDs Day approaching on Dec. 1, the issues around sexual education and sexually transmitted diseases looks even more important.

According to the WCTV.tv report in 2008 1.1 million people in the United States were living with HIV/AIDs, or almost one in every 300 people. My guess is everyone knows at least 300 people, so chances are at least one person you know has the horrible disease. And if you live in the Washington D.C. area it may be even higher, as D.C. was just rated the No. 1 place in the United States for STDs.

But besides the way AIDs and sexual education is taught, there are other ways to help address these issues, and still they bring up controversy.  An article in the Minneapolis’ Star Tribune discusses how sexy ads are being used to address issues with AIDs, and some feel they should not be so sexy.

The ads, which are targeted at young gay men, are causing debate because they are using sex to promote the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. I some what understand this point, because what is the best way to prevent STDs, not having sex. But let’s be real, people are not going to stop having sex, so let’s inform then on ho to be safe, and that is what these ads do.

But for the ads to be effective, people need to notice them, be attracted to them and actually read them. Well what sells better than sex? Nothing. Sex sells and everyone knows this, that is why Megan Fox is in the Transformers movies — the only reason she is in the Transformers movies.

So I have no issue with these ads. A picture of a half naked guy is going to get people to look at it. It is going to stand out and do what it is intended to do. Sexual ads are used to sell everything else from sports to web domain names to underwear, so why not STD prevention?

The people you can’t stop

So there is no easy way of figuring which way of teaching sexual education is more effective in preventing the spread of STDs and pregnancies there are some things that are out of the control of sex-ed teachers and no teaching can stop.

I came across two articles of some horrible acts by two different men, something I’m sure goes on a lot more than we here. Noew there are some people who have spread STDs unknowingly. While this is horrible and people need to be more responsible by getting tested when they have done anything that puts them at risk, the person still did not know they had an STD and did not know they were sharing it with others. But what these two men had done was give an STD knowingly to someone else or at least put the other person at a risk of getting it without the other person knowing.

The Augusta Chronicle wrote about an art teacher who had HIV and knowingly exposed his wife as well as a six-year-old-girl to the HIV. This case is wrong on so many levels. One the guy knowingly exposed these people to HIV. Two he did this to his wife, someone who he is suppose to love, not give a disease that will kill her, and lastly he also did it to a six-year-old.

Another man gave gonorrhea to a one-year-old baby he babysat. Now this child will have gonorrhea because of what he did. Not only is it wrong because the baby was one, but he knowingly did this.

These are the things that cannot be prevented because there are some people out there who just have no concern for others. Unfortunately these people make it more difficult in the fight to stop STDs, a fight that is all ready tough enough.

Even Sesame Street talks about STDs!

So the debate about how sexual education, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases should be taught to the youth of America in school goes on, yet Sesame Street has no problem taking the issue head on.

An article on TVSquad.com that discusses the Top 5 controversies on Sesame Street as its 40 years of existence has the third biggest controversy listed as Sesame Street’s character Kami who has HIV/AIDS.

In one episode, which is shown on the online story, Kami talks to former president Bill Clinton on how she speaks to people about HIV/AIDs and ask Clinto to tell the audience that it is okay to hug those with HIV/AIDs.

Clearly this character has drawn a lot of protest, especially from the American Family Association back in 2002, but for what reason? The show is teaching kids at a young age that there is nothing to fear from those who are infected with HIV/AIDs. People need to remember that Sesame Street is shown worldwide, and in countries such as South Africa where 28 percent of the population has HIV according to the article on TVSquad.com.

People need to know the truth about HIV/AIDs and other STDs. The best way to do this is feed them the information when they are young and using a medium such as Sesame Street is a great way. The earlier we inform kids about the dangers of sex and STDs the better the better off they will be.

This debate that goes on about how sex-ed should be taught and at how early of an age is ridiculous. Kids need to know the horrible things that can happen if they get these, but at teh same time they need to know the truth about them, such as it is still okay to give someone with HIV/AIDs a hug. If Sesame Street needs to have Clinton say this, then it is an issue somewhere in the world am I’m sure it is in many peoples minds in the United States.

People need real sex ed…trust me

The debate that goes on all over the country on which way to teach sexual education is going to go on for a long time; should schools teach abstinence only, or give students all the facts about STDs, contraception and pregnancy? But a survey, according to the Washington Post, done by an panel of independent experts have concluded that teaching students to delay sex, and the facts about contraception and STDs is effective in delaying sexual activity and reducing the spread of STDs, while there is inconclusive evidence on how effective teaching an abstinence-only approach is.

I have to agree that giving students all the facts is a better method, because no matter what, some students are going to be sexually active at young ages, so it is better that they know what they are doing and the dangers. This is something President Obama also agrees on as he is asking for less funding for abstinence-only programs and more for those who will teach all of the facts.

Not only is it better for everyone to be given the facts and make their own decisions at that point, I also beleive this is the correct approach because well, there are just some stupid people in the world.

Case in point, an article in the Visalia Times lists a number of myths about sex, contraception and STDs, and I could not help but laugh at about half of them. But the fact that the article needed to be written proves that not everyone was laughing with me, and people actually beleive some of these myths.

Other myths about sex can be found at health.com and just goes to show that some people do not know this information. If people do not know it, then there is a need to teach it because this is vital information. If people actually believe they cannot get pregnant by havign sex standing up while in water, then there are going to be a lot of people having kids that shouldn’t.

So while the panel found some evidence to prove that giving all the facts works, but no evidence to say abstinence only works or does not work, I say we go with what we do know rather than what we don’t. Let’s give the kids all of the facts.

Take a break from STDs for H1N1

While I may have complained in an early blog post about how most college health center websites were putting more of a focus on swine flu, or H1N1, than on sexually transmitted diseases, something I feel should be the top priority for campus health centers, there is one case where H1N1 is taking precedence over STDs that I do not mind.

As flu season comes with full force, a number of sex clinics are closing down for some time, usually a full day such as The Merced County Department of Public Health, according to the Merced Sun Star, to provide a location for flu vaccines. While this may displace some who are seeking sexual health services, it is something that is a good idea in my mind.

The Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinic of Public Health in Dayton is doing this as well. According to the Dayton Daily News, the clinic is opening its doors for flu vaccines but for specific people. In an attempt to get those who need the flu shots the most, the clinic is giving the vaccine to pregnant women, those who provide care to children under six months old, health care and emergency workers, anyone aged six months to 24 years and those between the ages of 25 and 64 with medical conditions.

This is a lot better than some places where they are closing clinics such as in Ottawa, because they can’t handle the number of people looking for the vaccine.

I have no issues with these clinics being closed down for flu vaccines, and actually think it is a good idea, because it is being done for a short amount of time (one day) and is for an immediate cause. While STDs are very serious, they do not have the need for immediate attention such as people with the flu and those who need the flu vaccine.

In a case like this, I found it a very smart decision at a time where flu season is approaching quickly. If these clinics were to close down for a large amount of time because of flu season, I would then have an issue with it because then you are displacing people who need services and putting those with the flu or the need for a flu vaccine ahead of those with other serious medical conditions.

What is the right way to teach sex-ed?

When it comes to sexually transmitted disease there is always a big debate on how to teach them. Do you teach kids abstinence and not having sex is the only way to prevent STDs? Or should sex educators teach kids what can happen when you get an STD or get pregnant and let them make their own decision? Do you try to instill fear in them by teaching them of what these diseases can do in hopes that will make them want to be abstinent?

While there is no right or wrong way on how to teach sex-ed, there is always going to be a debate on it. Many schools take different approaches such as Downy High School in the Los Angelas area who is banning certain dance moves from its dances. In Huntsville Alabama they teach the abstinence until marriage concept, but with questionable success. Alabama has the highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis of any state in the country.

One thing that does not help with the spread of STDs and teaching kids about them is layoffs that are occurring because of the recent economy according to teh Fredricknewspost.com. Ten employees and two programs will be cut in the Frederick County leading to less information being out there for people to gain.

In my opinion, I feel sex ed should be taught in an unbias way, putting the information out there for people and allowing them to make their own decisions. If students want to be smart they will be smart and will continue to be smart down the road. Those who feel to ignor the warning given about STDs then they will make those bad decisions and pay for it. But if those who choose to make the bad decisions end up having a sexual relationship with those who are smart about sex, it is unlikely the people who make smart choices will put themselves at risk.

People need to be able to make their own decisions and the best way to teach sex-ed is not forcing one train of thought down a kids throat, you have to give them the information and let them decide.

Are we all just going to get STDs?

While many sex educators try to tell people to take precautions when having sex so they do not get sexually transmitted diseases , one who is well versed in sex educations, Vanessa Cullins, M.D., the vice president of medical affaris of Planned Parenthood, has a different message to pass along via youtube.

Cullins says that for all who are sexually active, they should expect to get human papillomavirus, because “we all get it”.

While this may sound somewhat blunt, the message that Cullins is really trying to pass along is a good one. In an article on World Net Daily, or wnd.com, Cullins states that people need to be more upfront with the realities of sex and not be afraid to talk about them.

I can not agree more with this. People are far to afraid to talk about STDs especially with their sexual partners and their own doctors. People are embarrassed to go to a doctor and get tested or ask questions about what this spot is in their pelvic region. You want to know what is more embarrassing, when the person you had sex with calls you and informs you you gave them an STD.

This is especially important on college campuses where STDs are more rampant than possibly anywhere else. Students have all sort of resources available to them in health clinics and a number of other students who haev contracted different STDs. These are all sources that students can use to talk to people about STDs, and be mroe upfront to them instead of shying away from them.

Many STDs, including HPV can be contracted and not show any signs until an outbreak. At that point, it may be too late and depending on how sexually active one is or how sexually active the partners they have been with are, many others could be infected. But if students are more upfront, aren’t afraid to make sure condoms are worn and other safety procedures are followed, then Cullins prediction will be right, everyone is going to get HPV as well as many other STDs.

Students speak up about sex-ed and STDs

Why is there not more of this being done? There are debates going on all over the country on how to teach students about sexual education and how to help them prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but these are all being led by adults and politicians. Let’s be honest times have changed since they were taking sex-ed classes in middle and high school so what they think will be the best way to inform students of the dangers of sex, may not be the most effective way in today’s world.

The Committee on Health in the District of Columbia have got the right idea however. They have put together a report, the Youth Sexual Heath Project: A Framework for Change, that is based on studies done of high school students in the Washington D.C. area. The report used focus groups to see what are the problems that students face when it comes to sex and how sexual education can be delivered better to students.

One issue that the study found was that many students don’t feel comfortable approaching their nurses when it comes to asking for condoms or asking questions about them because “It feels like talking to your mom,” one student said int eh report according to the Washington Post.

A study done at Boston College shows that students want more when it comes to sexual education. The results of the study show that even students at the college level don’t feel they know enough, or that there is more for them to learn to help keep themselves safe. The best way to get these students the information they want and to get it to them before it is too late is to start at some of the earlier levels of schooling.

By conducting surveys and studies of middle school students and high school students, more can be learned about what will be effective for this generation of youth. What may have worked for our parents probably won’t work for today’s kids because their exposure to it today is different then it was then. By hearing what they have to say, what they want to learn and how to teach ti to them, better sex-ed classes can be constructed leading to decreases in pregnancy rates and cases of STDs, something that is not happening today.