Effectiveness of Abstinence Only Sex Education Programs with Sexually Active Youth

Effectiveness of Abstinence Only Sex Education Programs with Sexually Active Youth
Definition of the Problem
Client System’s Definition
The United State of America has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among the industrialized nations to date. In addition, the United States adolescents, including those from the Junior High Schools in the East Coast of the United States of America, are initiating sex at a much lower age than those in European countries. Further, the American youth and especially those in Junior High School are at an elevated risk of contracting HIV/AIDS in addition to frequently engaging in unprotected sex (Stephens, 2012). From this premise, and according to the client systems approach, the client is the Junior High School teenager from the East Coast, who actually takes the form the ultimate client. Meanwhile the consultant is the State government along the east coast states, which is at the centre of funding and rolling out of programs on sex education through the federal government. Other clients in this scenario are parents who form the indirect clients. The client system’s approach also defines the client from a categorization that considers the level of issues. In this case, the client may be considered to be of the larger system level category. This is because the problem in focus involves the wider community and society that comprises of Junior High School students, their parents, and the community around them at large.
My Definition
The effectiveness of the abstinence-only-sex-education programs with sexually active American youth is in doubt. Even after continual funding and support for the education programs by the federal government, the age of initial sexual activity among American teenagers in the states along the east coast remains low, the teenage pregnancy levels remain high, and the health implications associated with sexual activity among the teenagers remain a challenge (Stephens, 2012).
The client systems definition approaches the problem from a fundamentally different viewpoint from my definition of the problem. Although the two definitions address the same problem, the client systems approach delves more into identifying who the client is and who the consultant is. Further, this approach also identifies the change that needs to be effected by the consultant, who is the State government in the states along the east coast of the United States of America. This is because it is the consultant, who funds the change process under consideration. The behavioral change process is the abstinence-only-sex-education program, which is under review. Meanwhile, my definition delves straight into the problem, which is the effectiveness of the abstinence-only-sex-education programs. In effecting behavioral change, a number of theories may be applied. One such theory that has gained credulity due to its effectiveness is the ‘stages of change’ model otherwise known as the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change. This theory breaks down the behavioral change process into stages. The stages of behavioral change by this theory are the pre-contemplation stage, the contemplation stage, the preparation stage, the action stage, the maintenance stage and finally the relapse stage.
Goals
The adverse effects associated with sexual activity among the American Junior High School teenagers and youth need to be mitigated through effective sex education programs. Indeed, education provides a universal avenue to access the American youth uniformly and in a concerted manner. Therefore, by the end of high school, a teenage should show positive and responsible sexuality behavior after going through a sexuality education program. This goals may be monitored by observing whether the age of onset of sexual behavior reduces, the number of teenage pregnancies reduces, the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections reduce and whether the prevalence of HIV/AIDS reduces by the end of completion of Junior High School.
Objectives
1. Does the abstinence-only-sex-education program reduce the onset of sexual behavior among the sexually active American youth?
2. Does the abstinence-only-sex-education program reduce the number of teenage pregnancy among the sexually active American youth?
3. Does the abstinence-only-sex-education program reduce the prevalence of sexually transmitted infections among the sexually active American youth?
4. Does the abstinence-only-sex-education program reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the sexually active American youth?
Cultural diverse communities constitute the American society. These cultural orientations may be categorized mainly as racial and religious. Racially, the United States is made up of Caucasians, American Indians, American Africans, and Hispanics among many other ethnicities. The religious categorization of Americans includes Christians, Muslims, atheists, and many others too. In tackling the issue of the effectiveness of the abstinence-only-sex-education programs, it may be requisite to consider how each of these categories approaches the question of sexuality and sex education among the youth (Rossi, 2009). For instance, while Roman Catholics have an issue with use of contraception and advocate for abstinence until marriage, the atheist are more inclined to accept the use of contraception in sex education programs of the youth.
Hypothesis
If the American youth were informed about contraception, condoms and abortion, then the teenage birthrate, prevalence of STIs and HIV/AIDS and abortions would decline.
Intervention
Abstinence-only programs are one of the best measures of getting rid of unsafe sex practices among young people, thereby ensuring that unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections are avoided. It is a very difficult program to establish due to the difficulty of following it and since no one is going to monitor young people to ensure that they abstain. For this reason, whatever program that is put in place needs to be acceptable by adolescents and one that will ensure that they do not rebel against the intervention that has been put in place. Various social interventions can be put in place including interschool social concerts and community workshops.
Adolescents and young people who are in puberty normally study, and therefore, the best place to establish abstinence-only program is at the school setting. When adolescents and young adults convene in a school setting, the social surrounding triggers them to open up and it drives them to do better since the program targets people of the same age. The aspect of competition and excelling in the program is a factor that is likely to change their attitudes. In the company of their teachers also, these young people are likely to open up concerning any problems. Such a free environment will often lead to these people being convinced and guided well. Such gatherings may involve many schools and institutions and the organizers can make it to be a form of contest whereby various students are divided into groups. There is a facilitator in every group who oversees the activities. Tasks are given to every group and after they accomplish the task, they will convene again as a group and there is summary of the concepts.

Due to the free atmosphere accorded to these youth, they become free and share out their stories. The social interactions also alter their level of thinking and ensure that they are able to think well and answer freely within the context of the meeting. Most of them will be free as to why they engage in sex, and with noteworthy guidance, they stop on their own volition.
Another intervention targets the community level, whereby through social interactions, young adults and adolescents are convened. This may be in the form of social workshops whereby moderators come up with forums of discussion, and with time, these young people are able to view themselves in other spectrums apart from sexual desires. They for instance are able to meet and discuss various issues. By engaging in social discussions more often, young people do not idle around. As the old adage goes, an idle mind is the devil’s abode. Therefore, when young people are not idle, they engage in constructive activities, and from this abstinence is possible. The intervention may also be in the form of community workshops whereby young people meet and do constructive work around the community. They may collect litter around the town, slash or even assist with tree planting. With this form of preoccupation, they are not idle to engage in vices like sex. Most importantly, what is important is that, whatever intervention is chosen, the aim is to bring young people together in various forums so that they are free in what they articulate and so that they interact with moderators freely. This translates to abstinence when the moderators pass the message consistently.
In these forums, the young people will be urged not to engage in sex at an early age. Experts will be called to advise these young people. However, it is difficult to prevent young people from having sex since they are a stage of their life that requires experimentation and proving things. This includes sex because they grow up finding their elders engaging in these practices. Besides, we are in an age where the media propagates sex through sexually explicit movies and inappropriate music videos. Pornography is everywhere. For these reasons, young people are always exposed to sex. The best way to advise these young people in this forum is to urge them to use safe sex practices. The best method available currently is the use of condoms. Both boys and girls need to be told about condoms and how to use them. They need to be advised not to fear using them or buying them since condoms offer double protection, that is, protects one from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Multicultural Practices
In giving sex education, multicultural practices need to be considered. If a particular culture is against an issue, it becomes difficult to pass the message across. However, it helps when cultural practices in an area support those measures. Latino Americans have been implicated in a series of rape and sex offences in the recent past, and this has necessitated sex education programs to be established in institutions. The culture previously unsupportive of the idea is becoming more and more flexible and to date, they support the measures. What has aided in this transformation is the immensely divergent power of the Catholic Church. Even though Catholics oppose such measures and practices like same sex marriage, there are those who urge flexibility in the matter and this has changed the attitude of Latino Americans about the issue. The Vatican has vehemently opposed issues like contraception and sex education, but modern Catholics among the Latino Americans have taken a more liberal approach.

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