Sunday, March 3, 2013

Think Progress, you lazy bastards

Since this Think Progress graphic keeps popping up in my facebook timeline, I might as well share it with you all, too.
It’s likely no coincidence that many of those same states lack the comprehensive sexual education requirements that would help educate their residents about HIV transmission from an early age. Health classes in Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Louisiana aren’t required to provide any kind of medically accurate information about HIV. And in two of those states — Texas and Florida — public schools don’t have to offer any type of sexual health education whatsoever.
The article completely ignores the HIV/AIDS diagnosis rates in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, which are in the same range as most of the Southern states. (Before anyone says that it's an "urban" problem, remind me again which is the second largest city in the US and what state it's in.)

I guess I'm all pissy about the article because it's just so fucking lazy. It only took me a couple of minutes to look up the sex education policy of New York State:
New York has no law that mandates sex education or regulates its content if taught – it has not taken the necessary action to guarantee complete, comprehensive sex ed for its students. However, New York does require that students be taught about HIV as part of health classes. Sex education policy is governed by New York Commissioner’s Regulations 135.3 and Learning Standards for Health, Physical Education, and Family and Consumer Sciences.
 (Advocates for Youth)

And what do you know? Illinois and Massachusetts are in the same boat: no mandate for sex ed, but information about HIV/AIDS must be taught in high school. New Jersey, though, is a bit of an oddball:
New Jersey has among the most comprehensive sex education policies of any state. Its students must receive age-appropriate information on a variety of topics, including gender stereotypes, sexual orientation, the benefits of abstinence, and condoms and contraception.
So, yeah. Claiming that abstinence only sex ed is the cause of high rates of HIV/AIDs oversimplifies the problem. I have no doubt that it contributes to high rates of STIs and teen pregnancy, but simply blaming red states for their lack of proper sex education isn't going to reduce rates of HIV/AIDS.

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