Image credit: J. Higgins, Colorado Youth Matter
Decades of research show that when it comes to youth sexual health education, there’s no competition.
Comprehensive sex ed has consistently been proven to reduce rates of unintended teen pregnancy and STIs, as well as delay youth’s first sexual activity and increase the likelihood that when they do have sex, they do so safely.
We here at Colorado Youth Matter base our work in the research and data, and the research is clear. That’s why our vision is that all young people in Colorado will be equipped with the education and resources to make informed decisions about their sexual health – and that means more comprehensive sex ed in schools and from Trusted Adults. But this vision is impossible to attain without dedication and teamwork.
So who do we need on our team? We need school districts working to make sure that all youth in their districts have access to comprehensive and inclusive sex ed. We need clinicians who are dedicated to informing youth about their sexual health. We need state legislators, who must continue to ensure that sex education in Colorado is required to be culturally competent, medically accurate, age appropriate, and comprehensive. And we need members of Congress to fight for federal funding of comprehensive programs, and combat the wasteful funding of abstinence-only programs.
It requires all of us – local, state, and federal partners – working together as a team. And the stakes are too high for us to work in silos. Because in the end, this vision isn’t about us.
It’s about students who have a right to accurate information about their bodies and their relationships, and young people who should be able to trust their doctor. It’s about our sons and our daughters, and the youth in our lives. It’s about all youth in Colorado, and across the country.
It’s about them, not about us. So let’s remember that we need to work as a team, now more than ever. And when we don’t, it’s young people who lose.
Image Credit: J. Higgins, Colorado Youth Matter