To The Chairman
The School Board
Dear Mr. Chairman,
I understand that our school board is considering instituting an abstinence-only program for pre-marital sex. And that billions of dollars in matching federal funds has been committed to these kinds of sex education programs.
Whilst this program stresses abstinence from pre-marital sex, the students must also be informed about the relative risk of different sexual practices and how to minimize these risks. Eliminating sexually transmitted diseases is quite impossible, but greatly reducing its prevalence is a worthy goal in public health community.
Recent discoveries in biological science have helped us understand how disease-causing germs, or pathogens, travel from one person to another. These pathogens travel through vehicles, like a droplet water in the air (measles, for instance), feces in untreated water (cholera); the transfer of blood from the mother to their newborn infants, also known as congenital transmission (syphilis, HIV); and intermediary hosts, called vectors. These vectors can be anything from mosquitoes (malaria) to hypodermic needles (hepatitis, HIV). STDs use some of these pathways, but the main vehicle is through sexual contact. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 40,000 new HIV infections occurin the US every year, 70 percent among men and 30 perscent among women. In the world as a whole, there are some40 million people with HIV, a number that grows by 5 million a year. Three million die of AIDS every year. (Scientific American)
According to Scientific American there are eleven common STDs caused by viruses, bacteria, protozoan, and even lice, which are either curable or not. The good news about this is that all these diseases can be prevented by not only abstinence, but with proper education on the different safe sex practices and contraceptives. While some are curable, eight of the mentioned common STDs can be prevented with the use of condoms.
Further education on the effects of these STDs, and how some of them are not curable, should be a part of and not limited to abstinence only programs. The schools should be fully aware of what they are abstaining from. Information on these risks and the counter measures will help the students be more responsible with their own decisions.