From nation to nation, year to year, we are dealing with the problem of STIs and young people. Those testing positive after a chlamydia screening are as young as 9 years old in cases with 15 to 24 year olds being the worst age bracket affected. The question is what age should our children be before we begin teaching them about sex? Should we be teaching the kids about sex or should we take example from the Americans and fight for abstinence?
New research points out that more teenagers are abstaining there than ever before. Figures show that there has been a 40% decline in the last 20 years in teenage pregnancy however this might just be as a result of the accessibility of contraception and the awareness that barrier contraception is the only way of protecting oneself against sexually transmitted infection.
Conservative attitudes are back in fashion stateside however. According to research, we, the British, focus on raising awareness about contraception whereas in America they focus on abstinence. Representatives from the National campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, say that this approach has proved successful over the last decade or so and that many young people have decided to abstain until they meet the right person. Rather than forcing chlamydia tests into their lunch packs, the American parents and teachers are avoiding the problem altogether and it is working, so they say.
Religion plays a huge role in abstinence although it is the quickest way to start a campus uprising in my opinion. This week, a basketball player at the Brigham Young University in Utah, a Mormon college, was kicked off the team when it was discovered he had sex with his girlfriend despite his vow of chastity but this is surely this is not the encouraging focus on abstinence that seems to be widely practiced in the US.
Some suggest that the 90s were the reason behind the increase in the number of women having casual sex and having multiple partners. This decade supposedly influenced women to act more like men sexually but now some suggest that now women are realising they cannot have sex like men do and that this is the reason for the decrease in teenage pregnancy. Perhaps they are talking about emotional involvement or investment but I know some men would not be happy to be painted with that same brush.
Whether we focus on the condom or the chastity ring, we are moving forward. There are only more cases of chlamydia being reported because more people are having chlamydia tests as they are for other other sexually transmitted diseases.