"Adolescents ages 15-24 account for nearly half of the 20 million new cases of STD's each year. Today, two in five sexually active teen girls have an STD that can cause infertility and even death" - hhs.gov Why is this statistic a reality and how can it be considered acceptable?
Young women today are at risk for a number of both short and long term issues, and this due to a multitude of factors; among these, the most noticeable being lack of comprehensive sex education, widespread criticism of Planned Parenthood, and the creation of a stigma regarding responsible testing for STDs.
Our culture shames those who are afflicted by STDS and this teaches youth today to avoid getting tested at all costs, leading to horrible aftereffects down the road. The fear of judgement plays a large part in why the United States has extremely high statistics regarding teen pregnancy and STDs compared to other developed countries.
In America, only 24 states are required to have sex education. Not all information that is handed down to students is even truthful, at that. Some have even claimed that such education, which lacks comprehensive content and standards, serves as a form of child abuse. Not giving accurate and thorough information to adolescents only sets them up for hardship down the line. Most often when sex education is mandated, the focus is on abstinence-only programs (which are largely ineffective and inadequate).
Planned Parenthood is often criticized in the media today, yet it serves as a platform for a tremendous amount of aid, especially for those with less privilege. Planned Parenthood provides STD testing, birth control, and so much more- this should be recognized, as it's programs are absolutely crucial.
Progress is slow as far as reform goes, even though the majority of the general public is in favor of thorough classes. What needs to happen now is enactment of legislation that will reflect that- especially if we want to help those who are developing without access to crucial information that will affect their entire lives.
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