Honors College Thesis


Evaluation of the Critical Aspects of Sex Education Programs for the Improvement of Student Health and Wellbeing Public Deposited

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  • Sex education plays a critical role in the development of youth sexual health and wellbeing. An ideal program is taught with honesty in an inclusive and respectful environment where students learn strategies to lower their risk of unwanted sexual outcomes, communication skills to build and navigate relationships, and necessary knowledge to recognize and seek help for sexual violence or abusive relationships. Programs need to be inclusive of and respectful to people of all gender and sexual identities and be tailored to best meet the needs of students in each community, particularly students most vulnerable to poor sexual health outcomes. By these standards and experimental evidence, programs that discuss only abstinence for risk prevention are inadequate for the educational needs of teens and young adults. Many HIV and pregnancy-prevention programs are effective at reducing unwanted sexual health outcomes but comprehensive programs that stress responsible sexual behaviors and risk prevention better meet the needs of young people and are most appropriate in high school health education. For implementation of good programs, legislation and funding policies must support them, otherwise, as shown in many US states, students are especially vulnerable to poor sexual health outcomes like high teen pregnancy and HIV infection rates.
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