IF EDUCATION IS THE ANSWER, ARE WE ASKING THE RIGHT QUESTIONS?
by David Sisler
The dual problems of teaching sex education to young people and warning them about AIDS, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, is an increasingly difficult task.
Recently the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, released a report on sexual activity among young people. According to the CDC, two-thirds of teenagers are sexually active, 30 percent with four or more partners.
If teaching reproductive biology is the goal of sex-ed classes, we are doing a good job of it. The simple truth is, young people do not need instruction in reproductive biology. As the song writer said, “Birds do it, bees do it, even little bitty fleas do it.”
Our kids are doing it.
Sex education lesson plans need three basic points in their outlines: first, practice abstinence until marriage and then practice monogamy; second, if you are sexually active, stop and refer to point number one; third, sex can kill. It is vital that sex education classes teach that AIDS is always fatal.
Today’s magic words are condoms and safe sex. The emphasis being placed on condoms as a means of avoiding the HIV virus is tantamount to encouraging our children to play Russian Roulette with a fully loaded revolver. The idea of safe sex is a conjurer’s illusion. Safe sex is the sex from which you abstain, not the sex in which you exercise limited safeguards.
A CDC pamphlet on condoms states, “condoms are not 100 percent safe, but if used properly will reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS.” Wait a minute! Reduces the chance of contracting a disease that is always fatal! That is irresponsible!
In a study of women age 20 to 24, who rely on male condoms for birth control, the National Survey of Family Growth found between a 19 and 36 percent chance of getting pregnant within one year. Those figures are even higher for teenagers.
Keep in mind that there are only a few days each month that a woman can become pregnant. You can catch the AIDS virus every day. AIDS always kills. Condoms can always fail.
That same CDC pamphlet says, “If you know your partner is infected, the best rule is to avoid intercourse. If you decide to have sex with an infected partner, you should always be sure a condom is used from start to finish, every time.”
How do you know your partner is infected? It can take almost four years before a carrier of the AIDS virus will even test positive, and perhaps ten years before full-blown symptoms are seen.
How can you protect yourself? What lesson do our teenagers need to hear? Abstinence. Abstinence. Abstinence.
Some school systems teach children about AIDS in the fifth grade. With the period of incubation as long as a decade, the fifth grade may not be soon enough to start warning our kids.
Let young people practice putting condoms on bananas. Let them make jokes while they are doing it. Then pound into their precious little minds – condoms will not protect you, AIDS will kill you, but you won’t get AIDS from sexual intercourse, if you abstain from sexual intercourse. AIDS has the potential to destroy us, and the figures of infection and death are rising once again.
With continual testing, our blood supply is becoming safer. If you don’t share a hypodermic needle with anyone, you’ve eliminated that method of AIDS transmission.
That leaves sexual intercourse as the other major means of transmission. You can protect yourself if you practice abstinence until marriage and then maintain a monogamous relationship with someone who has been similarly celibate.
If education is the answer, are we asking the right questions? This is a lesson our children must learn. This is a test we must all pass. There are only two grades: life or death.
Copyright 2003 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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