"Condoms" by Oregon State University is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

With STIs On the Rise, Advocates Want Evidence-Based Sex Education

Nov 1, 2019

By Sony Salzman

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that cases of common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the United States had reached an all-time high, with cases of gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis rising for the fifth consecutive year.

This represents a total of more than 2.4 million infections in 2018 alone—and certain infections are disproportionately occurring among young people. For example, in 2018, young women ages 15 to 24 accounted for 44 percent of all reported cases of chlamydia, the most commonly reported STI.

Although a number of factors contribute to the uptick in STIs, advocates say abstinence-only sex education may be partly to blame.

Bukky Ogunrinola, a sophomore at Howard University and a representative of Advocates for Youth—which fights for sexual health, rights, and justicewent to a public high school in Idaho. She told Rewire.News she has seen firsthand the way fear-based tactics can backfire among a group of sexually curious young people. “As a product of fear-based sex ed, it’s never productive,” she said. “Now young people feel they need to hide everything when it comes to their sexual health.”

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