Education protects health, delays sex

Netw Res Triangle Park N C. 1997 Spring;17(3):14-5, 18-20.


PIP: Sex education can help prevent the risk of unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by providing information to young people about reproductive issues and encouraging the consistent use of contraception or STD protection. In Jamaica a study surveyed about 500 students 11-14 years old and found that only 27% of girls and 32% of boys knew that getting pregnant during the first intercourse was possible. Similar lack of accurate information was found in other regions among young people. In India 80% of 100 girls seeking abortion did not know that sexual intercourse could lead to pregnancy or STDs and 90% did not know about contraception. Among 370 Russian high school students surveyed only 25% of the girls and 35% of the boys knew that condoms were intended for only a single occasion of use. A survey in 17 high schools in Bucharest showed that lack of information on reproductive health was one of the main reasons for unplanned pregnancies and abortion among Rumanian youth. Lack of vital information is one of the reasons for the low use of family planning among adolescents. The evaluation of sex education among young adults shows that formal sex education programs can increase the knowledge of reproductive health. In Tanzania a school-based program for students 13-15 years old showed an increase in knowledge about AIDS and decrease in those wanting to have sex. Attaining behavior change is the focus of these programs, but few studies deal with the results of sex education. Several family planning programs have incorporated elements of behavior change into sex education programs for young people, e.g., the Planning your Life program in Mexico, with information about pregnancy, disease prevention and STDs, relationships, decision-making, communication, and assertiveness. The Sexuality Information and Education Council lists concepts in a comprehensive sex education program: human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent*
  • Age Factors
  • Behavior
  • Contraception
  • Contraception Behavior*
  • Demography
  • Disease
  • Education
  • Family Planning Services
  • Health Behavior*
  • Infections
  • Knowledge*
  • Marketing of Health Services*
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Research
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*