OPINION: Let’s talk about sex

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Bella Watson
Opinion Editor

Maintaining sexual health education in schools will ensure the safety and health of all students. Graphic courtesy of Hailey Stessman/The Gateway

It’s no secret that sexual education is a highly debated subject, but the truth is that knowledge is power. Nebraska is notorious for its lack of sexual education in the public school system, and it shows in our community’s rising STD rates. 

For the past 15 years, Douglas County has had higher rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea than the national average, and those numbers are only continuing to rise. These cases are most rampant amongst people who are between the ages of 20 to 24. This age group accounts for nearly 40% of all chlamydia cases in Douglas County and nearly 30% of all gonorrhea cases. 

It is neither fair nor realistic to demand that college-aged students stop engaging in sexual activities, but there is still a way to halt the spread of these diseases, and that’s by talking about it. According to Teen Health Mississippi, studies have proven that increased sexual competency through education lowers STD rates in the communities where it is taught. 

Despite the state of Nebraska’s continued attempt to block comprehensive sexual education, there are resources in the community that aid in spreading awareness. Access Granted, for example, supplies teenagers and young adults in Nebraska with tools to help them navigate sex ed. and help them access resources that promote sexual health. 

It is time to normalize talking about sexual health, and becoming aware of the imposed risks when youths do not have access to comprehensive sex ed. It is also time to normalize having difficult conversations, such as getting tested before engaging in sexual behaviors with a potential partner. 

To access resources, find free STD testing near you, or for more information, visit the Access Granted website at https://getaccessgranted.com/.

 

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