Teens and Sex

Jay Gradner

An increasing problem on high school campuses and one of the main
concerns of parents, school officials, and the government is teenage sex. It is
on the rise, and they are worried that it may get out of control. Teenage sex
can be a problem because of the pregnancies and many diseases it can cause. One
solution that has been proposed is to distribute condoms in public high schools.
This is a topic that is controversial and has been hotly debated for years.
There are people who think it would be a good idea and those who think it may
worsen the problem rather than solve it.
The reason that people want to distribute condoms in high school is to
try to prevent teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and (I separate
this from the category of STD\'s because it is so widespread, deadly, important,
frightening, etc.) H.I.V infection. The theory is that if condoms were given
out or made available at high schools, then the students would be more inclined
to use them. They would have them or be able to get them if they need to use
them. This would cut down on unprotected sexual intercourse and prevent the
pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and H.I.V. infection. If a student
was at a party and decided, on the spur of the moment, to engage in sexual
intercourse, then it is more likely that they have a condom if schools
distributed them. This sounds good in theory, but will it really work? If
schools distribute condoms, shouldn\'t they also teach the students how to use
them and teach them a little about sex (sex education in schools, another
controversial topic)?
The world certainly needs to try to decrease teenage pregnancies, STD\'s,
and H.I.V. infection. In an article from the New York Times, the United Nations
reports that women, especially sexually active teenage girls, have a higher rate
of H.I.V. infection than men in that age group. It cited the slow development
of mucous membranes as the reason for the lower protection against infection and
increased risk of getting H.I.V. It mentions that in Rwanda, 25% of pregnant
women are infected, and 17% of those who have teenage sex will be infected.
Those numbers are staggering. In the United States, if even 5% of teenagers who
have had sex become infected with H.I.V., then that would translate to hundreds
of thousands of teenagers. This shows that H.I.V. could be a bigger problem
than it already is if nothing is done about it, and some people think that
distributing condoms would help keep the problem from getting worse.
Condom distribution might work, but what if the students do not use
them? Also, distributing condoms might start a student to become sexually active
that otherwise would not be. Wouldn\'t condom distribution then increase teenage
sex thus increasing the chance of getting pregnant and contracting H.I.V.? Once
this student becomes sexually active he or she might not use a condom every time
they have sex. Even if they do, condoms are not 100% effective. I repeat-
CONDOMS ARE NOT 100% EFFECTIVE. They are only 92-96% effective against
pregnancy and not at all effective for blocking H.I.V. transmission. Wouldn\'t a
better option then be to control teenage sex?
Making love is not something to play around with. When people decide to
do it, they make a life and death decision. If they contract an STD they risk
their life for death. And if a woman gets pregnant, the woman is not guaranteed
to live through it (although chances are that she will), and the child is not
guaranteed to live for many reasons including abortion.
Shouldn\'t steps be taken to educate teenagers about what they are
getting into before schools start handing out condoms? This would be a better
way to prevent the spread of pregnancies and of STD\'s and H.I.V. If teenagers do
not have sex to begin with the risk of infection goes down because, like I said,
condoms are not 100% effective. If they know more about the risks, then they
can make an educated decision about sex, and then it will be very likely that
they will use a condom if they decide to have sex. This is one alternative and
might be a better policy to implement than condom distribution.
I think that starting in junior high school, students should learn about
pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and H.I.V. There would be a course or
a section of a course dedicated to health where students learn about these
subjects. Then in high school, students