This essay has a total of 2503 words and 10 pages.
condoms in HS
Distribution of Condoms in Public High Schools
By: E. Brophy
Coinciding with the onslaught of the new millennium, schools are beginning to realize that the parents are not doing their job when it comes to sexual education. The school system already has classes on sexual education; these classes are based mainly on human anatomy. Most schools do not teach their students about relationships, morals, respect, self-discipline, self-respect, and most importantly contraceptives. Everyday students engage in sexual activity, many of them with out condoms. This simple act jeopardizes these students’ futures and possibly their lives. An increasing amount of school systems are starting to combine messages involving abstinence from sexual activity, and expanding availability of contraceptives, especially condoms. Schools are now stepping in to further equip their students for life. The distribution of condoms in public high schools will lower the rate of pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers. About one million teenagers become pregnant each year in the United States. There are more then 16,000 pregnancies in the State of Maryland alone. Ninety five percent of these pregnancies are unintended, and nearly one third of them will end in abortion or miscarriage. Miscarriages are caused by of lack of medical attention. According to a report by the general Accounting Office, teen mothers and their children cost the United States 34 billion dollars a year (J.A.N., page 1) Eighty percent of teen mothers end up in poverty for long periods of time due to the fact that they never finished high school. They become financially dependent on programs such as Welfare and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children). Welfare provides money and food stamps for low-income families. WIC provides milk, cheese, eggs, cereals, fruit juices, dried beans or peas, peanut butter and infant formula for all participants. WIC also provides nutritional education and health care referrals at no cost. Programs such as these help millions of families every year. Among all age groups, teenagers have the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases. Every year one in four teens that have had sex contract a sexually transmitted disease. Common diseases among teens are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV. Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility in women. "The only risk factor found for chlamydia infection was being a teenager" (John Hopkins researchers). Students that are sexually active need to have access to condoms to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. Teens have problems with birth control for several reasons, and because of this lack of birth control teens are more susceptible to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The problem with birth control today is obtaining it in the first place. For most teens getting birth control is an intimidating experience. Girls must have a complete gynecological exam, which most have never had. Girls must also speak with a doctor about wanting birth control. "Even if it's only a male going to the store to get condoms he has to put up with comments like, 'I'll have to charge you an entertainment tax.' A female goes in and she hears, 'Hey honey, you're not the one whose supposed to be buying these.' She gets embarrassed" (health clinic worker). When free condoms are offered to students, they are less embarrassed to receive them. Students with condoms are more likely to use them during sexual activity. Experts say the lack of knowledge on how to use a condom correctly and the lack of motivation to use a condom every time means that condoms fail more often. This could result in pregnancy or the contraction of STD's. Teenagers reuse condoms or they use it with a petroleum-based lubricant which can dissolve the condom's latex. Birth control products are only effective if used properly. Rates of failure for condoms are between 2 percent and 14 percent. Inexperienced users make up a larger percentage of failure rates because of improper use. This failure rate is also due to inconsistent use among teenagers. With the proper knowledge and training students can effectively use a condom to protect themselves. Today’s sex education programs are failing to meet the needs of sexually active teens. “Any sex education program is doomed to fail” (Kevin Ryan, page 1). Schools should start their sex education program early even in kindergarten and provide a realistic course of instruction (Kevin Ryan, page 1). Children that are given enough information about sex will act responsibly. It is ridiculous to believe that a comprehensive sex education program will suppress the sexual passions of the youth. [It is often with the belief that teens can be taught the basics of sex and file the information away for future use, then they are to ignore the massive amount of messages they are receiving from television, popular music, the latest movie releases and magazines. “If sex education is going to be successful, it has to be character education as well” (Kevin Ryan, page 2).] Considering the fact that the majority of teens will participate in sexual activity, Sex Ed should focus more on methods of contraception and less on abstinence. “There are no studies that well demonstrate that abstinence-only [approaches] have an impact” (Jo Anna Natale, 4). Giving adolescents more information about sex and making condoms more available are ways to cut the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The condom is the only type of birth control that protects against the transmission of STD's when properly used. Although condoms should be available for students, schools can't just throw condoms at teens and tell them to be careful. "Teaching kids the facts of life isn't enough, you have to teach them respect, responsibility, and self-discipline as well" (Kevin Ryan). The overwhelming majority of teens say that other teens should wait to have sex, but if a teen is sexually active, that teen should have access to some form of birth control. Sixty percent of adults say teens should have access to a form of contraception. Low-income families are unable to provide their teenage children with condoms. Younger teens may also have trouble finding a way to a store to purchase condoms. If teens are unable to provide condom’s for themselves, they are unable to protect themselves. Health Resource Centers, or HRC's are centers located in middle and high schools promoting safe sex. HRC's provide reproductive health information, condoms, and general health referrals to students. All students in the participating schools are taught about the importance of abstinence, but they are provided with condoms if they choose to be sexually active. Trained staff members and volunteers including health professionals, educators, nurses, psychologists and graduate interns provide counseling for students upon request. Students attending the junior high school also have access to condoms; however; counseling is mandatory for these students before they can receive condoms. Informational brochures can be obtained in the nurses’ office. Students are also able purchase condoms from vending machines located in remote places through out the school. The HRC's have large levels of administrative and staff support for its objectives. Students who used the program generally viewed the services they received favorably. Expanded condom availability, when accompanied with the proper education and information about safer sex, will increase the amount of protected sexual encounters. The Family Planning Council works with health care providers to establish counseling procedures, to train staff, collect data and develop counseling standards. The Council holds monthly meetings to share information, strategies for educa
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