Wednesday, March 12, 2008

EDITORIAL: 48% of Black girls, 14 -19, infected with STD!

It must be obvious now that something is terribly wrong with the way we educate our youngsters when 25% of all girls, 14 -19, suffer from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and the percentage for black girls is 48%.

Reported in an article by Associated Press medical writer Lindsey Tanner appearing in the March 12 Intelligencer Journal, she goes on to say "Some doctors said the numbers might be a reflection of both abstinence-only sex education and teens' own sense of invulnerability."

Sex education expert Nora Gelperin who writes for says, "Sexuality is still a very taboo subject in our society. Teens tell us that they can't make decisions in the dark and that adults aren't properly preparing them to make responsible decisions."

The naivety of American policies toward sex and drugs is apparent to those who are in contact with health experts from Western Europe and Canada. In the USA, we produce outstanding research, then ignore the enlightening conclusions and allow politicians to determine foolish policies by pandering to religious ideologues. In Europe and Canada, the advice of researchers is both sought and more relied upon, the results being far better harm reduction education concerning practices that put people at risk.

Common Sense for Drug Policy (CSDP) is located in Lancaster. (Full disclosure: The publisher of is a co- founder and Vice Chair.) CSDP's Director of Research, Doug McVay, is currently attending a UN sponsored conference on drug policy in Vienna. For an example of how much more progressive are European approaches to problems of sex and drugs (both legal and illegal), spend fourteen minutes listening to McVay's interview of former British Drug Czar, Mike Trace at .

Abstinence from all forms of sexual contact may be considered desirable by some, but is hardly likely for most girls in their later teen years. Along with moral guidance, they need practical advice and, when at risk, access to vaginal and oral condoms to protect themselves.