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How Well Is Sex Ed Working in Our Public Schools?

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There is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, and it is getting worse by the year.

In 2011, Concerned Women for America (CWA) released a report, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases: The Cost of Free Love,” which identified 49 sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and included 2008 estimates from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that there are 19 million new STD cases each year, and more than 65 million Americans are living with an incurable STD.

So, two years later, has the situation improved? According to a February 2013 CDC report fact sheet, the answer is “no”; not only is there no improvement, the situation is even worse.

According to the 2013 CDC report, there are an estimated nearly 20 million new STD cases in the U.S. each year and a prevalence estimate of 110 million new and existing STD cases in the U.S. The CDC analysis only covers eight STDs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B virus (HBV), herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), human papillomavirus (HPV), syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Imagine how high the number might be if they counted cases for the 41 other STDs.

Even the CDC fact sheet admits their estimates may be low. “CDC used conservative assumptions in generating its estimates, so the true numbers of STIs [sexually transmitted infections] in the United States may be even higher than estimated.”

Of the 19,738,800 million new STD cases each year, the CDC said young people ages 15-24 account for more than 50 percent of them and, yet, are only 25 percent of the sexually experienced population.

What could be the cause of that outcome? Could it be that the millions of dollars spent on “comprehensive sex education (CSE)” in schools has failed? Could it be that students are taught condoms are the answer but, in reality, they just reduce, instead of prevent, the risk of disease transmission? Or that teenagers must use them properly every single time? CWA’s “Sexually Transmitted Disease” report discusses this in depth.

The Obama Administration is coming to the rescue by throwing more money at the problem through funding CSE programs via ObamaCare. The CSE program “Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP)” will receive $75 million in FY 2014 from ObamaCare, and some of the beneficiaries of this money are Planned Parenthood affiliates. In fact, in 2010, Planned Parenthood Federation of America urged states to apply for PREP funding (then $55 million) so that their affiliates could partner with the states to provide this program. The notice stated, “Planned Parenthood is working with a broad partnership of national organizations to encourage states to expand effective sex education programs for young people. Planned Parenthood affiliate educators nationwide reach more than 1.2 million young people and adults with effective sex education each year.” Evidently the almost 10 million young people who acquired an STD, according to the CDC’s latest report, did not receive “effective sex education.” Of course, when sex education is ineffective, where do many of these children go for services? Did anyone guess Planned Parenthood?

According to the PREP funding guidelines, “The purpose of this program is to educate adolescents and young adults on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.” That is the basis of CSE programs; they tell students abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy, but we know (wink, wink!) you are going to have sex anyway, so here are ways to have “safer” sex and not get pregnant.

Do government-funded programs seeking to prevent teenage drug use or smoking teach children that doing drugs or smoking are bad for your health and you shouldn’t do them, but if you do (wink, wink!) then use a clean needle for each injection, only buy drugs from people you trust, and only smoke filtered cigarettes?

ObamaCare funds CSE programs but eliminates coverage for annual pap smears and only allows coverage for them every three years instead, starting at age 21. Pap smear tests can detect abnormal cells which can lead to cervical cancer, and human papillomavirus (HPV) is the leading cause of cervical cancer. According to the CDC report, 49 percent of the 14,100,000 new HPV cases were in young people ages 15-24, about half of those are women. The fact sheet says that in most people (about 90 percent) HPV will clear their body in two years, but in some cases infections persist. So if a woman tests negative the first year but acquires it soon after that, it will be three years before she has another test and, by then, she could be one of the people who have a persistent, damaging infection. And if a girl gets HPV at 15 and shows no symptoms, we can only imagine what her first pap smear six years later will show.

But hey, at least those young women will get “free” birth control through ObamaCare, right?

Isn’t it strange that ObamaCare covers the HPV vaccine and recommends children get the first shot at age 11 but does not cover pap smears until they are 21? HPV is only transmitted through sexual activity. An 11-year-old child will not contract HPV if he or she does not have sex until they are an adult in a committed, monogamous relationship, preferably marriage, with another person who waited.

The CDC sheet also notes that a conservative estimate of what it costs to treat the eight most common STDs is close to $16 billion annually. In addition it states, “Because some STIs – especially HIV – require lifelong treatment and care, they are by far the costliest. In addition, HPV is particularly costly due to the expense of treating HPV-related cancers. However, the annual cost of curable STIs is also significant ($742 million). Among these, chlamydia is most common and, therefore, the most costly.”

As the CWA report discusses, for a number of reasons young people are more susceptible to getting an STD – a girl’s transformation zone in her cervix or the incorrect use or non-use of condoms to name two. The only way to avoid an STD is to remain abstinent until marriage and remain monogamous. While CSE proponents think that idea is quaint or nae, it is obvious from the numbers that their way is not working.

As the CDC report shows, there is an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, almost half of them in young people. How many of these young people wish they had been encouraged to remain abstinent instead of being fed lessons by organizations that make money from the consequences of sex? There were probably at least 10 million last year.