In most U.S. states, fewer than half of high schools and just one in five middle schools teach all the essential sex education topics recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to a new CDC report released today.
The report shows that the percentage of schools providing sexual health education that meets CDC's criteria is generally low and varies widely by state. Among the key findings:
- The percentage of high schools that teach all essential topics in grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 ranges from 21 percent (in AZ) to 90 percent (in NJ)
- The portion of middle schools teaching all essential topics in grade 6, 7, or 8 ranges from 4 percent (in AZ) to 46 percent (in NC)
With nearly one-quarter of HIV diagnoses and half of all sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. occurring among those under the age of 25, sex education in schools represents a missed opportunity for delivering critical HIV and STD prevention knowledge and skills.