Based on research done by Jozkowski, Kristen., & Crawford, Brandon. L. (2016), written by Bethany Wellman, M.S.
Research on the sexual health of US citizens identifies higher rates of teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections but lower rates of sex education within various southern states.
Researchers reviewed statistics on sexual health from federal and state resources. Though the US average for teens 15-19 is 29 pregnancies/1000, the Southern states reviewed, range over 40/1000. Findings indicate 83% pregnancies of 18-19 year olds are unplanned with highest rates of teen pregnancies among Hispanic and Black Americans. Sexually Transmitted Disease rates are nearly double the national average for teen females in southern states except HIV, which is higher in urban populations.
Research suggests variable rates of sex education programs across states. However, a consistent finding in the Southern states is the lack of comprehensive sexual education, as 61% of school clinics are prohibited from providing contraceptives and 84% are required to provide abstinence only sex education, although only evidence based sex-education has demonstrated reduction in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The key in lessening infections and unplanned pregnancies is to improve access to sexual health services in both school and community clinics to help students make educated decisions regarding this important area of their lives.\
Jozkowski, K., & Crawford, B. L. (2016). The Status of Reproductive and Sexual Health in Southern USA: Policy Recommendations for Improving Health Outcomes. Sex Res Soc Policy, 13, 252-262.
Kirby. D. (2008). The Impact of abstinence and comprehensive sex and STD/HIV education programs on adolescent sexual behavior. Sexuality Research & Social Policy, 5(3), 18-27. www.cfw.org/Docuent.Doc?id=283