The US has the highest teen pregnancy rate of all industrial nations which results in 750,000 teen pregnancies annually with 80% being unintentional. Furthermore, teenagers account for one quarter of the sexually active population but contract half of the 19 million STDs annually and contract one third of the 50,000 new cases of HIV each year. In addition, 9 out of 10 LGBT youth report being harassed in school, and two thirds of LGBT youth report feeling unsafe in their school environment. This is due to the US’s insufficient sexual education system. The National Sexuality Education Standards has provided expectations for what youth should be learning in sexual education and at what age it should be taught (by a teacher that has undergone training.) This sexual education approach will lower teen pregnancy, STD/HIV, and violence statistics while helping adolescents understand their anatomy, sexuality, gender, and relationships.

Effective Sexual Education

1. Focuses on specific behavior outcomes

2. Encourages behaviors, values, and norms that support health

3. Increases understanding of risky and harmful behavior and the importance of reinforcing positive factors

4. Addresses peer and social pressures

5. Builds social and personal competence

6. Provides accurate knowledge that will contribute to health promoting decisions and behaviors

7. Personalizes information to keep the specific group of adolescents engaged

8. Information, teaching methods, and learning strategies are age and development appropriate

9. Incorporates culturally inclusive learning strategies and teaching methods

10. Provides a sufficient amount of time for instruction and learning

11. Teachers have been trained to teach the curriculum to enhance the effectiveness of instruction and learning