The Need for Sexual Health Education
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data shows that adolescents are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections, HIV or unintended pregnancy than any other age group. Young people age 15-24 account for nearly half of the 19 million new sexually transmitted diseases reported each year and approximately 30 percent of teens drop out of school following a pregnancy.
Even though adolescent and teen birth rates have declined across the state and country for almost two decades, in many CMSD schools and areas of Cleveland, birth and HIV/STD rates continue to be alarmingly high. According to a 2017 Center for Community Solutions Report, the teen birth rate in Cleveland is double the rate in Cuyahoga County (54.8 compared with 25.3).
Across Cleveland, Ohio, and the nation, sexual health risks – including STD/HIV and unplanned pregnancy – are even higher for black youth and sexual minority (LBGTQ) youth.
Comprehensive sexual health education has been shown to delay sexual activity and increase the use of condoms and other contraception for sexually active adolescents (source: Advocates for Youth). Schools can play an important role in sexual health education, especially in HIV/STD and pregnancy prevention. RSBD partners with parents and guardians, healthcare providers and community organizations to empower students with the knowledge and skills to develop healthy relationships and to avoid sexual behaviors that present health risks, including unplanned pregnancy and HIV/STDs.