Talk to teenagers about sex
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 12, 2008
The issue: A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 3 million teens in the U.S. have a sexually transmitted disease.
Our position: Teenagers need to know the dangers of unprotected sex and the benefits of abstinence.
Teenagers’ ignorance about matters sexual is making them sick.
A recent study released by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimates more than 3 million teenagers in the nation have a sexually transmitted disease.
It happens everywhere to anyone.
In Dallas County, 1 in 67 residents have an STD, according to rates calculated from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the CDC. A local physician has said that most teenagers don’t know about STDs until they contract them.
That’s the mistake of some adult.
The first place of learning about sex should be the home. Parents need to sit down with their children and speak frankly about the dangers of unprotected sex and the benefits of abstinence. There are plenty of books in the library for parents to use. Parents need to look at this talk as they would any other about health matters. After all, that’s what teenagers need to hear, the cold physical facts about the dangers of STDs – that heterosexuals can transmit and contract HIV or AIDS; that syphilis, if untreated, can kill; that gonorrhea left untreated could spread to the bones and joints; that these diseases do not have to occur.
The actuality is that most parents will not talk to their children. Researchers have found that many parents are as ill-informed as their children or resist having a discussion about this health threat because they are embarrassed.
What parents cannot or will not do is left up to the schools. Counselors should be allowed to discuss the issues of STDs, or arrange for public health officials to come to the schools and discuss the issues with pre-teens and teenagers. Health classes and science classes provide great opportunities to discuss the diseases, how they are contracted and how many are treatable.
Nobody should have to be sick because they don’t have good information – especially our children.