Thursday, August 21, 2008

Texas Sexuality Education Law and Policy

SIECUS - Texas State Profile
Texas does not require sexuality education. However, Texas Education Code states that if a school district does teach sexuality education, HIV/AIDS prevention, or sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention education, then it must:

  • present abstinence from sexual activity as the preferred choice of behavior for unmarried persons of school age;
  • devote more attention to abstinence from sexual activity than to any other behavior;
  • emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity, if used consistently and correctly, is the only method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, infection with human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and the emotional trauma associated with adolescent sexual activity;
  • direct adolescents to a standard of behavior in which abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);
  • teach contraception and condom use in terms of human use reality rates instead of theoretical laboratory rates, if instruction on contraception and condoms is included in curriculum content;
  • not distribute condoms in connection with instruction relating to human sexuality; and
  • separate students according to sex for instructional purposes.

Sexuality education and STD/HIV-prevention education are also included in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Health Education, which are written by the Texas Education Agency.

Sounds all lovey dovey and Christian like doesn't it? And yet when you look at the real life stats about teens and sex behavior, it's a lot scarier and messier:

The Status of Adolescent Sexual Health
During the last year, a series of data concerning the sexual health of adolescents has filled newspapers, startling the public as statistics reveal a quarter of female adolescents have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), and for the first time in 15 years the teen birth rate is on the rise.
Also disturbing, the worst health outcomes are often segmented along racial, ethnic, and geographic lines, with minority communities and southern communities experiencing the highest rates of STDs and teenage birth. These communities, already made vulnerable by cultural and structural barriers, experience the worst sexual health outcomes.[2] By examining the major data released throughout the last year, this becomes more apparent.

This is why I am constantly bitching and moaning about this. We have spent millions of dollars on abstinence only funding and yet despite this, STDs/HIV prevalence and incidence are not improving and in fact are worse than we thought. And while I know some people might be tired of the whole "race issue" (because of course it isn't really an issue XD) I can't help but believe that a huge part of the problem is that people perceive that this is all a problem faced by poor, young, black/brown people and hence those in charge of funding decisions don't really give a damn. After all, if only we "hot blooded" types would learn to curb our sexuality like all those nice, Christian, white people do-*cough*Larry Craig Eliot Spitzer*cough*- then we wouldn't have these issues! *sigh* The major problem with all of this is tha tit has to do with sex and especially with the sexuality of young people and nothing freaks out Americans more than that combination of topics. As a whole, we are incapable of discussing and confronting issues related to sex without making all kinds of moral/religious/highly subjective judgments regarding "other people" and their sex lives. It is almost impossible to get implement sound, sane sensible health policy as a result and that means more STDs, more HIV, more teen pregnancies and all the ensuing complications which in the end, hit the most vulnerable among us the hardest: young people, poor people, people of color.

1 comment:

Mallikarjuna said...

Very good article whch emphasis on social cause