Today, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) have reintroduced legislation that would give America’s youth the knowledge they might need to make educated decisions about their health. The “Real Education for Healthy Youth Act” seeks to expand comprehensive sex education programs in schools.

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“Young adults should be presented with all of the information they need to make smart choices,” explains Lautenberg. “It's clear that ‘abstinence-only’ programs simply don't work, and this bill would ensure that U.S. policy and federal funding reflect that reality. It’s time to bring sex education up-to-date to reflect the real-life situations facing American youth.”

The “Real Education for Healthy Youth Act” would help schools implement and expand age-appropriate comprehensive sex education programs that are medically accurate and evidence-based, train teachers and educators to effectively educate teenagers in order to reduce unintended pregnancy and the transmission of STIs, and expand sex education programs at colleges and universities.

The bill would also prevent federal funds from being spent on ineffective, medically inaccurate sex education programs.

“Comprehensive sex education programs reduce behaviors that put young people at risk, and it’s past time we get real about giving young people the information they need from trusted sources to live healthy lives,” says Lee. “Research has shown that programs which teach abstinence and contraception effectively delay the onset of sexual intercourse, reduce the number of sexual partners, and increase contraceptive use among teens. These programs also reduce unintended pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.”

Alarming Statistics on STIs, Teen Pregnancy

Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) continue to threaten the health and well-being of our nation’s youth. The United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world.

In 2010, there were approximately 19 million new cases of STIs, almost half of them occurring in young people between 15 and 24 years old.