MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

March 17, 2008

Educate teens about protection

Here’s a true statement: the only real “safe sex” is no sex at all. Regardless of whether you’re in a committed relationship where both parties claim to have been virgins on the marriage day, sex is only as safe as each partner’s word.

Here’s another true statement: when hormones are raging, teenagers more often than not do not see abstinence as a viable option — even those who have taken pledges to be abstinent.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control came out last week stating that one out of every four teenage girls in America have gotten a sexually transmitted disease. The news was starker for African American girls: up to half have gotten an STD, while only 20 percent of whites have.

Around half of the girls in the study reported having sex. Of those, almost 40 percent have gotten an STD.

Those numbers may not seem like they mean much, but what they mean is teenagers are having sex — at least half of them are — and when they do, a huge percentage of them are reaping dangerous, perhaps even deadly consequences.

Condoms don’t always protect against every disease, and neither do other “safe sex” practices. We agree with abstinence proponents that the only real “safe” sex is none at all.

However, in the face of the reality that our young women are contracting STDs at an alarming level, we owe it to them to discuss the reality that they should be protecting themselves if they choose to engage in sexual activity.

Let’s face it. We’d all prefer teenagers didn’t get involved in sexual relations at a time most agree they’re not emotionally equipped to handle them.

But they’re doing it, whether we like it or not. We owe it to them to educate them to the dangers they face.

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