The Relationship between Sex Education in Secondary Schools and Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections among 16-19 Year Olds

The Relationship between Sex Education in Secondary Schools and Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections among 16-19 Year Olds

Abstract

The world is experiencing a wave of increased sexual infections among people, especially the youth. This is as a result of irresponsible or unsafe sexual practices. Most learning institutions provide for the education of teenagers in school by offering SRE programs. However, they have failed miserably in the quest to promote decent sexual practices among the youth. Going by statistics, especially in the UK, the government needs to come up with immediate interventions to prevent the issue from further becoming rampant. The main purpose of this paper is to establish the relationship between sex education and the rate of STIs spreading among 16 to 19 year olds in secondary schools. According to research, the students lack interest and programs are run by people who lack ample training. Other factors like media influence, and lack of role models also contribute to increased irresponsible sexual behavior. According to the findings of the research, some of the main interventions that can be applied to curb the issue include making parents the primary sex educators, overhauling and updating the current SRE programs, using trained professionals to teach in schools, and involving the community in education and nurturing of teenagers.

 

Table of Contents

Abstract 1

CHAPTER 1. 2

Background of the Study. 2

Problem Statement 3

Purpose of the research. 3

Research question. 4

Research design. 4

Scope and limitations. 4

Chapter II. 5

Literature Review.. 5

The SRE Program.. 5

Public Health Impact 6

Case Studies. 6

Chapter 3. 7

3.1 Methodology. 7

Research design. 8

Research population. 8

Study sample. 9

Research instruments. 9

Data collection. 11

Data Analysis. 11

Validity and reliability. 11

Ethical Considerations. 12

Limitations of the study. 13

Results and Data Analysis. 13

Recommendation and Intervention Plan. 14

Conclusion. 15

Works Cited. 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

The Relationship between Sex Education in Secondary Schools and Rates of Sexually Transmitted Infections among 16-19 Year Olds

Background of the Study

“For too long young people have been telling us about what they wish they had learned in class about approval and relationships, and how a better understanding of their  sexual health facts and body could have kept them safer and healthier.”

This statement was made by Jane Lees, the chairperson of the Sexual Education Forum based in the UK. According to her, the young people also recognize the gap in society and the education system regarding gaining awareness about sexual matters. The curriculum provides for compulsory Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) from students aged 11 years and involves teaching them about their sexuality, reproduction, and sexual health (Guttmacher 2). Even with this requirement, the country still records a high rate of STI infection among teenagers aged 16 to 19. The increasing rate of STIs among the young people in secondary schools is believed to be linked to the quality of sexual education they receive. The discovery led to the need to investigate further the relationship between the two, as will be revealed in this study.   The primary objective is to find necessary interventions to implement in school and at the community level to promote sexual education, and reduce the STI infection rate among teenagers in the stated age bracket (Guttmacher 2).

The introductory chapter presents background information, the problem statement, objectives, and the main research questions guiding the study. The second section presents evidence collected from reviewing previous interventions. This is an important stage in any investigation because existing information gives an outline of the study, reviews existing information, and highlights existing case studies on the research topic. Information gathered in the literature review determines the thesis statement and gives a general view of what is expected from the survey. It will highlight the shortcomings of peer education, failure of previous interventions, global statistics, and the decline in SRE programs in the UK. The literature reviewed will also present a comparison between strategies used in the UK versus those in other countries, and the approach used in educating teenagers. As the study is mainly based in the UK, the research will also highlight on the local boroughs most affected by the high STI rates for example Hackney and Newham. Finally, this chapter will provide evidence from existing case studies and use them to lay a foundation of the fieldwork research stage.  The third chapter presents the methodology.

In research, methodology defines all procedures, methods, approaches and designs used in conducting the actual study. It involves the methodical approach of field study preparation, outlining the study population, and the development of both original or primary, and secondary data collection tools. The main elements defining this stage include the research design, instruments, study population, data collection, and data analysis. The chapter explains the field research process, analyzes the data, and provides recommendations based on the findings.

Problem Statement

The increasing rate of which teenagers aged between 16 to 19 years get STI infections in The UK is not only surprising but alarming. Teens are engaging themselves in sexual activities without risk or concern about their health status. The depressing part about this information is that they engage in a risky sexual behavior because the education systems have failed to guide them on how to avoid or practice if necessary, safe sexual behavior. UK is one of the countries that have recorded a sharp increase in STI infections, and it will be the primary focus of this research. According to the Mirror publication, doctors diagnose sexual diseases of close to 2,000 teenagers on a weekly basis (Jeremy n.pag). In the year 2014, over 85,000 teens were treated for the same. Using those statistics, if the issue stays unaddressed then by the end of 2016, the figure will have risen to approximately 108, 000 cases (Jeremy n.pag). A different study conducted by Brook Young People Company indicated that the country experiences an annual increase of 19% infection among women and 16% among men. These students, when asked, stated that they had not received any form of sex education in their learning institutions. The Health Protection Agency also revealed that two-thirds of the cases reported were young women, indicating that the risk was higher among females. It is for this reason that there is need to conduct critical research to find the loopholes and apply necessary interventions to safeguard the future of teenagers in the country.

THE RATE OF STI RECORDED IN THE U.K
STI      2010    2014    2016 (projected figure)
Syphilis           2,647   4,317   8,634
Gonorrhea     16,843 34,958 100,764
Herpes            29,698 31,777 63,544

 

Purpose of the Research

All learning institutions are required by law to provide Sex and Relationship Education in their curriculum. Most of the schools comply with the rule, but going by the statistics mentioned, this curriculum is failing on a national level. Hence, the need to determine ways in which teenagers that fall under the 16 to 19 years bracket can be educated effectively.  The research intends to scrutinize and uncover all possible wrongdoings, failed strategies, and barriers leading to the wrong execution of the SRE studies in schools, and provide alternative interventions. In doing so, the study provides an immediate solution, while creating a foundation for long-term implementation programs.

Other objectives include:

  1. a) To raise awareness and encourage a positive and responsive culture towards sex education.
  2. b) To promote safe sexual practices where abstinence is not deemed possible.
  3. c) To promote active participation among teachers and their students, whereby they interact with the children in other settings outside the classroom.
  4. d) To foster unity among parents and the community in being active participants in watching their children.

Research Question

The main research question is: what can be done to prevent the increasing rate of STI contracting among teenagers in secondary schools?

The sub research questions include:

  1. a) What is the teacher’s attitude towards the SRE program?
  2. b) What is the students’ attitude towards the SRE program?
  3. c) How effective are the current interventions?
  4. d) What role do parents and the community play in contributing towards or curbing risky sexual behavior?
  5. e) Why is the UK most affected by this plight?

Research Design

To conduct a comprehensive study several methods must be used in data collection and analysis stages. All research design methods were put into consideration, and the most suitable one for this study was the mixed methods design. This research design involves the incorporation of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis method. To get qualitative and quantitative data the research needs to apply both secondary and primary data collection methods.

Scope and Limitations

The research team encountered some limitations while conducting the study. The first limitation was the issue of dealing with minors. Even though teenagers aged between 16 to 19 are old enough, the government only recognizes those who are 18 years and above as adults. Therefore, any form of research conducted on them needed the consent or presence of either a parent or teacher. Some of them also felt embarrassed to disclose information about their sexual activities due to fear of getting judged because of their age. It is also for this purpose that it was hard to find participants for the study because they feared judgment. The research team had to assure them completely that their information was confidential and their identity anonymous.

 

 

 

 

Chapter II

Literature Review

The SRE Program

A study conducted by the Brook Young People Company indicated that almost 50% of the secondary school population found their SRE lacking while only 6% stated that they benefited from this learning (Brook 1). The same researchers were astonished by how some these children aged between 14 to 18 years still believed in worrying sexual myths. For example, 59 % of the study population thought that women can’t get pregnant without men ejaculation inside them. Over 30% felt that it was impossible to get pregnant during the first sexual encounter, and 25% believe that only gay people get infected with HIV (Brook 1).

The SRE program is failing because the government and relevant parties have been unable to update the curriculum on sex education. The same knowledge that was being used before is unchanged. Technology and urbanization brought about global changes that modified how people live. The human race has been exposed to more information that is accessible without limit. The media is primarily responsible for promoting irresponsible sexual behavior, and there are no stringent measures in place to control its spread (Arnett 52). Popular culture and trends support the message of sexual irresponsibility in the form of music, films, and through the lifestyles of famous people. The celebrities have become the leading teachers and role models among teenagers in the current generation. Pornographic material is accessible and can be distributed over the internet in the blink of an eye, regardless of the age of the person on the other end (Kirke 55). Devices like computers, phones, and laptops among others have become a necessity among children as early as five years, as opposed to being a luxury before. Parents have become so busy that they have no time for children and leave the responsibility of raising children to media. The more they are exposed to sexual content, the more they get curious and gain knowledge on what to do with the press exposure. Interestingly, the media only feeds them with what is considered “fun, attractive and enjoyable” without showing them the negative impact of their choices.

Previously, young people were restricted from gaining access to sexual content. The television shows had ratings, and the parents were responsible for ensuring the children stayed in line. Before the internet, mass media distribution was limited to print versions as an alternative. Access to adult content was restricted to stores that could not sell to underage children, and the parents kept away such from their children’s reach. Sex and the sexual talk were almost taboo, and young people were afraid of the consequences of engaging in the pre-mature behavior. At that time, the sex education standard worked for students who had limited knowledge about the activity but were always warned about the resulting implications.

Therefore, the SRE program has failed because it has not taken into consideration the fact that times have changed, and children have been exposed to more content. There is no way a child would listen to a teacher in school saying “sex is bad,” over a song by his or her favorite artist or celebrity praising the act.

The other issue as to why the program is failing is because the untrained staff is executing it. Some administrators feel that the subject is not too essential, and cannot fit into the already filled up curriculum. Therefore, they hire unqualified staff or incorporate the program into topics like Social and Health Science, Biology, or Physical Education. A study conducted by the Sex Education Forum in the UK indicates that a larger percentage of teachers lack training in the field. From their study, 1 out of 10 teachers was able to identify an infection like chlamydia (England 48).

Public Health Impact

A prevalence estimate by the CDC suggests that the young people above 15 years comprise of half the percentage of new STD reports and that a quarter of every sexually active teenage girl has chlamydia or HPV (England 57). In comparison with adults, teenagers belonging to the 15 to 19 age bracket and adults aged between 20 to 24 years face a higher risk of contracting STDs due to biological, behavioral, and cultural reasons. Women are also more susceptible to getting chlamydia because of their increased cervical ectopy.  The high level of infection among adolescents could also be an indication of barriers the teenagers face in accessing quality prevention services. For example, lack of funds, transportation, and fear of being judged or embarrassed.

Case Studies

A review done by UNICEF indicates that the UK has recorded the highest rate of adolescent conception in Europe (England 124). The country recorded high statistics even though it has a mandatory sex education program in the curriculum. However, the plans failed due to poor execution. Places affected the most in the UK include local boroughs like Hackney and Lambeth. Other affected areas include Wadsworth, Lewisham, and Southwark (Jeremy 1).  Statistics indicate that in Hackney, over 4,000 in 100,000 residents suffer from chlamydia. It is stated as the highest rate in ever experienced in the country. London has experienced a 5% annual increase in the number of reported cases of sexual infections. Lambeth recorded the highest figure of gonorrhea and syphilis infection; an aspect contributed to gays. Hackney recorded an estimated 2,600 per 100,000 infections while Southwark recorded a value of 2,300 per 100,000 residents.

Even though most countries have sex education programs, they seem to be very ineffective in dealing with curbing irresponsible sexual practices, in particular among the young people. An example of Holland is given whereby, even though the country has a mandatory sex education class, the lesson focuses on the biological aspects of sex, and ignores other aspects such as interpersonal relationships. This creates some form of inconsistency in the intention of the program and increases the risk of teenagers engaging themselves in risky sexual behavior.

A case study is given of California in the United States that indicates how to make the SRE curriculum useful (Boonstra 13). In 2003, the State of California passed a law that required sex education programs in schools to be set to medical standards. The programs were also meant to be comprehensive and age appropriate. California is also the only state that rejected federal funding in the implementation of abstinence programs. Teenage pregnancy rate experienced a decline of over 50% by 2005 after the new policies were implemented. The state also increased the access to free contraception among students.

The research also reviewed the case study of Finland. According to the study, the country has been strict about the application of SRE policies on a national level, and the resulting aftermath impacted teenage sexual behavior. The state had previously made sex education compulsory in 1970, but the law downgraded in 1994. This led to a 50% increase in increased sexual activity among teenagers, abortions, and a drop in the use of contraceptives. The program was re-introduced in 2006 and made compulsory in primary and secondary schools in the country. After the re-introduction, the growing numbers of pregnant girls reduced. Girls were reported waiting as deciding to wait longer before being engaged in sexual activities, and those who did used contraceptives. Another case is given of the Latin American region. Education ministers and the Caribbean Health body signed a declaration in 2008. This famous statement stated that the government would support schools in teaching sex and HIV education in the entire region. They also endorsed scientific evidence which supported their approach.

 

Chapter 3

Methodology

The third section of the study sheds light on methodology. The method includes all processes, strategies, and approaches used in data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results. Research methods will be further described and demonstrated in data collection, population study and scales of measurement. The methodology also involves a combination of analysis techniques that will create a better understanding of the survey. Examples of mixed methods designs include:

  1. Explanatory and exploratory mixed methods design
  2. Convergent parallel mixed methods design
  3. Embedded and transformative mixed methods design

The mixed methods design is suitable for this study because it draws from both qualitative and quantitative data analysis methods. It also runs more data and reduces factors limiting the study due to its complexity. Different perspectives can also be compared to develop a well-rounded understanding of the research.

The study will employ analytical and exploratory mixed methods design. Exploratory research is the initial study conducted on a hypothesis. The original study for this research was carried out on teenagers aged between 16 to 19 years to determine how effective SRE programs were in school. The main area of focus was on secondary education in different locations in the UK, especially those with the highest number of, STI contraction rates. The exploratory research, as expressed in the literature review, lays the background for the main study. Exploratory research seeks to discover new angles on the study. Previously, most of the schools that introduced SRE classes have failed to curb sexual activity between teenagers in secondary education. According to the literature reviewed, the program was run poorly. The research, therefore, sought to discover ways in which children can be motivated to take the class seriously, and how parents and the community can be involved.

The critical aspect of the research seeks to establish the cause and effect of incidents. The major event in this study is the high infection rate among this age bracket. The research will entail conducting a field study to establish the causes of increased sexual activity, and its effect on the teenagers.

Research Design

The research design is described as the blueprint for any research study. It involves the study type, sub-type, hypotheses and variables, and the analysis plan. It highlights the approach and methodology used in the research. The key variables in the study include STI contraction rate and sex education while the sub-variables include the children aged between 16 and 19 years, secondary, school, and the UK. The research design in this study assumes several forms for both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Qualitative data took the form of interviews, records, observation notes and documents while quantitative data took the form of checklists, instrument data, and numeric files.

Research Population

The research or study population comprises of all people, subjects or objects involved in the research. In this study, the population should consist of all individuals related to creating sexual awareness among teenagers in secondary school, and adequate running of the SRE studies. Secondary schools enroll up to hundreds of people yearly. Therefore, to maximize on the research, we chose one school in three different locations prone to STI contractions. The study population included students, teachers, parents, doctors, and community members.

Study Sample

The study sample is a subset of a study population. Conducting a study using an entire population is expensive, and will take up a lot of time. The research may also be ambiguous. For example, if the study involves conducting research on call centers, finding all call centers in the country is a tedious process, only to get similar results across all centers. Therefore, the safest approach is to divide the study population to manageable study samples. The research team used the criteria of choosing two out of every ten call center agents. Gender was an important factor in this study because research indicated that women had a higher infection rate than men. Therefore, this information had to be validated through research. An equal number of males and females were selected to balance the study and get objective results. Other factors contributing to the study sample selection include age, location, and educational institutions.

The total study sample included 30 students, three teachers, six community members inclusive of parents, and one doctor. Parents were selected randomly and not necessarily of those who participated in the research. Of the 30 students, 15 were male and the other 15 female. This meant that there were five people of each gender chosen from each school in the study. The population was restricted to approximately 40 to ease the process of conducting the research.

Research Instruments

Doing a research involves the data collection process. Data is collected with the help of research tools. They are designed to provide scales of measurement, and obtain information regarding the topic of study. Research tools can be categorized as research instruments records, validation instruments, and utilization instruments.

Research instrument records are used to provide information on authentication and operation of research instruments in general. They indicate studies that have used specific tools and their purpose, variables, sample population, methodology, and other accessories. These measurements are used to mention how research instruments were obtained in the original study. Validation and Utilization device records are used to give details on the authentication and operation studies of specific tools. They also indicate the purpose, variables, sample population, and methodology of the tools.

Research instruments are developed in various stages, a process known as designing research tools. Research tools are designed according to the nature of the study to be conducted and preferred method of data collection. For example, tools used to do interviews are different from those used carry out focus groups and surveys. For interviews, the researcher needs to design interview questions, a schedule and confirm the issues with the respondent depending on the request. The questions have to be specifically on the topic that needs to be covered, as opposed to probing personal queries. Interviews are time restricted; too long and the participant gets tired and too short, and the researcher is unable to get enough information. Interviews are valid because the responses give room for follow up questions and maximize on getting information. The questions are both open and closed ended, providing a scope for the respondent to furnish more information on the topic. The main disadvantage of using interviews is evident in focus groups. Some people may dominate more than others, giving their opinions, as opposed to getting collective opinion of everyone in the group.

A questionnaire is the most suitable tool used to conduct a survey. The questionnaires can be printed on paper, or offered online as survey software. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Online reviews save on printing and logistic costs and are easily accessible. However, they are restricted to people with internet access only. Printed surveys are easier to use for those with limited computer skills. The studies can also be used in areas that lack Internet access. The downside of using surveys is that they can be easily destroyed or lost. Organizing and analyzing the data collected also takes longer than by use of online surveys. On analyzing data, online questionnaires are useful for closed-ended questions. Analyzing software and applications can be designed to interpret and tabulate results from closed-ended questions. Open-ended questions require manual interpretation and tabulation.

Due to the hard nature of the research, we decided to use interviews and questionnaires. The teachers and community members would be interviewed while all the students would fill surveys. We designed both online and printed questionnaires because one of the schools centers chosen for the study was situated in a different geographical region. However, the institution had internet access, and its students were well knowledgeable on computer skills.

There are some main factors that we considered when designing research instruments. We had to ensure that:

  1. a) The tools had a precise definition of the intentions of the investigation.
  2. b) They relayed the primary purpose and objectives of the study.
  3. c) Affirmed the intended use of the data collected.
  4. d) The instruments declared a confidentiality clause agreement between the researcher and respondent.
  5. e) The duration of the survey.
  6. f) The language used was age-appropriate.
  7. g) The questions were focused on providing answers to the research issues and relevant to the study.
  8. h) Appropriate scales were used based on the survey population.
  9. i) Personal details about respondents were limited to general information that can be employed in the investigation. For example, asking for their age, gender and profession, and avoiding questions like home address, and telephone number.

Data Collection

After preparation of data collection tools, the team proceeded to the field to get data. Due to limited resources, the process took a period of one month. Each week was dedicated to a particular school or region. The questionnaires were handed to the agents and collected after two days. The teachers and other parties involved were also interviewed during the one week period.

By perusing through the data from the printed questionnaires, the team realized that the students shared similar experiences. This realization helped us design an online survey for the school in a different location. The questions offered had several multiple choices that were in line with what other students experienced. This made it easier to analyze the information when combining online and manual results.  The sampling method used was simple random sampling. It was suitable because it minimizes bias, unlike the systematic sampling method. Participants were randomly chosen across all schools. However, the random sampling method was challenging to implement when compared with the systematic sampling method because of the involvement of variables.

Data Analysis

Data collected was analyzed according to the type of data. For example, primary data was analyzed separately from secondary data. The central data included results from the questionnaires, and interviews while secondary data was comprised of records, case studies, books, and articles. Secondary data was analyzed using the exploratory method while primary data was analyzed using the analytical method.

The research implied the use of tables, graphs, and charts as visual aids to make statistical illustrations. This was enabled by statistical software known as SPSS. The analysis was also conducted by the research questions, with each research sub-question being answered separately. The result analyzed from the research sub-questions was then combined to respond to the principal research question.

Validity and Reliability

In research, validity is used to suggest or indicate that the study conducted is through. Research validity is applicable in the study design and the data collection and analysis stages. Validity determines the authenticity of the findings and their representation of the thesis statement in the measure. When the claims made are valid, the data is said to be solid.

Validity is grouped into internal and external validity. Internal validity refers to the faults or flaws found within the study. Examples of defects affecting internal validity include research instrument errors, for instance, printing half of the questions in a questionnaire or lack of preparation of interview questions before the research. When the research design is faulty, the internal validity of the study will also be affected.

Factors that influence internal validity includes:

  1. a) Study population size
  2. b) Variability of the subject
  3. c) Duration allocated for collecting data
  4. d) History, maturation, and attrition
  5. e) Sensitivity of the research instruments in use

External validity refers to the extent to which the findings of the investigation are generalized or applied to a larger group or context. Any research that lacks external validity has findings that are not applicable in other contexts. These results are limited to the framework of the research carried out. For example, when the subjects in research are all of one gender or from one ethnic group, the results of the investigation are not applicable to the opposite sex or people from other ethnic groups. Another example is given when research is conducted in a controlled environment in a laboratory. Results from the laboratory are not applicable to the real conditions or occurrences outside the controlled environment. In such an instance, the results are said to be externally valid. Their results are not comparable to contexts other than those found in the research.

The factors affecting external validity include:

  1. a) Characteristics of the subjects’ population
  2. b) Collaboration between the investigation and selection of subjects
  3. c) Clear description of the independent variable
  4. d) Researcher effects
  5. e) Data collection methods
  6. f) Time allocated for the research

Ethical Considerations

In every research, there are several ethical considerations to be made to conduct adequate research. Moral norms are put in place to avoid falsifying and fabrication of information, misinterpretation of results, and promoting the truth. They also promote trust, respect, fairness, and accountability. In research, the primary ethical norms to be considered include confidentiality, data sharing policies, patency, authorship, and copyright issues. These policies are aimed at protecting the intellectual property of the authors. They also ensure that research conducted is publicly accountable.

When conducting a study, the researchers have to make sure that the rights of their subjects are protected. These include rights to protect their privacy. This is done by signing an informed consent form. To inspire trust among our respondents, we ensured that their identity remained mysterious. Their structures were assigned numbers as opposed to having them fill out their personal details. We also had the respondents waived their rights to demand any compensation as part of participation. Any information is given of completed the questionnaire automatically became the property of the research team.

People whose ideas and thoughts were reflected in the study were also recognized and mentioned. This was done to uphold honesty and acknowledge the contribution of others. Passing up copyrighted material as your own is considered as an offense. An ethical clearance form was also signed to certify the validity of the information in the research.

Limitations of the Study

We faced some complications while conducting the field study. The first complication was an under-estimate of resources used. During the research, we had to print many more questionnaires, because several respondents misinterpreted the information in the questionnaire. Others chose to discuss the questions with their peers, meaning their answers and opinions were influenced. We had to produce new polls and guide them to answer the questionnaires on their own, giving their personal views.

We faced a different complication in the data collection procedure. The research design was meant to incorporate the mixed method design, therefore applying the use of online questionnaires as part of primary data collection. This was a challenge because of the interpretation of some open-ended questions in the survey. This complication was solved by designing a slightly different questionnaire for the online survey. The team realized that most of the respondents’ experiences were similar; therefore, we restructured the questions and made the open-ended questions closed. There were several multiple choices offered, with results as close as possible to the experiences noted, to enable efficient data analysis.

When it came to data analysis, the team realized that they should have created online surveys or questionnaires for the entire research. This would have eased the data analysis procedure, as was done by the online poll participants. The printed questionnaires had to be manually interpreted, a process that took a lot of time.

Results and Data Analysis

The data collected was analyzed separately according to the different respondents. Information about each group was analyzed separately. Just as expected, the students’ response indicated that the SRE system was not an adequate educational tool. When asked whether they felt sex education in school was important, 90% of the respondents said it was. However, out of the 90%, 65 % felt that the information they received was not helpful. 20% said it was partly necessary, and the remaining percentage stated that they barely paid attention in class.

When asked what influences them to get involved in sexual activity, 70% blamed it on peer pressure while 20% wanted to do it out of curiosity. The remaining 10% thought it would make them look cool among other students. The research also tried to compare the rate at which each gender took precaution while being engaged in sexual activity. Only 5% of females stated that they took care after sex to avoid getting pregnant, while 70% reported that they did not. The remaining 20% were not aware of any forms of precautions to take before and after engaging in sex. None of the ladies took care before. In comparison to men, only 15% stated that they used condoms. Out of this 15, 90% of them were older than 17.

On the issue of STIs, an alarming 95% of the entire study population did not have basic knowledge of sexually transmitted infections. Most of them only knew of HIV and believed that it has been circulated after having sex with several people. Others thought that children their age were unable to contract any disease because they were too young. Their ignorance is comparable to that of the teachers interviewed. Most of them had the basic knowledge but were unable to identify some of the infections, and thought that it was not necessary to go into such details with children in class. The doctor confirmed that the rate of infection was higher among young women than men and that the young men were more confident in coming to get treated than the females. The community members interviewed stated that it was mainly the school’s responsibility to give children sexual education. They said that the school environment was the one most likely to promote and encourage sexual activity. However, they indicated that they would be willing to intervene and work with the education system to find ways to curb their irresponsible sexual behavior.

Recommendation and Intervention Plan

Judging from the results of the study, several responses can be provided to stop teenagers aged between 16 and 19 from further engaging themselves in risky behavior. The first suggestion would be to make parents the primary sex educators. Parents have the greatest influence over their children, and they are also responsible for their behavior. They have the ability to make their kids listen to them more than the teachers, and they also know them better than how the teachers do. Teenagers are also willing to trust their parents more. Therefore, opening up to them on sensitive issues becomes easier. This is the best form of intervention as it has a long-term approach. The more the parents keep watch over their teenagers, the more they can advise them accordingly on a continuous basis. The parents of teenagers should also encourage an open relationship with them. Instead of scolding them when they make mistakes, they should advise them. First, they find constructive ways to deal with the situation. They should also be engaged such that they are aware of all the people in their children’s lives, including those whom they date. Parents are also urged to take their children to the doctor regularly, just in case one is infected and afraid of seeking medical attention. Parents should also strive to be good role models for their children because after all, they set the behavioral standard at home.

The immediate approach to dealing with the crisis is by overhauling the current SRE structure and replacing it with a new one (Salsibury & Sheila 234). While doing this, learning institutions should also return or hire experts on sex education to take over teaching the program. School administrators should also give the issue the seriousness it deserves by detaching it from other subjects like Biology and incorporating it as an independent subject (Elley 76).

The community also plays a significant role in assisting to reduce the rate of infection among teenagers. One of the reasons children are drawn to irresponsible sexual behavior is through peer pressure and influence, bad company, lack of proper role models to emulate, and abuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol (Kapungu 88). Members of the community are responsible for taking care of their children, For example, store owners should be strict in selling goods like alcohol when it comes to under aged children. The community can also come up with programs to promote healthy socializing and keep adolescents busy in positive ways (Taylor 68). For example, outreach programs to participate, organizing public events, promoting sports, and developing their educational programs for the young people in society.

Conclusion

There is an alarming rate of which teenagers aged between 16 to 19 years contract STIs. The UK has gained the highest prevalence of the catastrophe in waiting, recording up to almost 2,000 cases on a weekly basis. Young females are more prone to these infections making up two-thirds of the entire sum of people treated. The UK government made sex education compulsory, but the system seems ineffective for various reasons. This led to the need to conduct research that will look into the relationship between sex teaching in secondary schools, and the rate of STIs among 16 to 19-year-olds. The primary purpose of this study is to scrutinize and uncover all possible wrongdoings, failed strategies, and barriers leading to the wrong execution of the SRE studies in schools and provide alternative interventions. Literature reviewed revealed that cities like Wadsworth, London, Newham, and Hackney record the highest figures of infection in the UK. The second chapter reviews existing studies on the issue, shortcomings of the SRE program, and makes a case study comparison with other countries. The third section defines the methodology and goes through the actual research process. A study population was selected, and the mixed methods design applied for efficient results. According to the research, most students lacked awareness of safe sexual practices and did not see the relevance of these programs. The teachers also were highly untrained, and the community thought it was the school’s responsibility to educate their children. The interventions suggested included using parents as the primary educators, involving the community, updating the SRE programs, and using trained personnel to teach in schools.

 

Works Cited

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Boonstra, Harry. ‘Winning Campaign: California’s Concerted Effort To Reduce Its Teen Pregnancy Rate.’ Guttmacher Policy Review, 13.2. (2010). Print.

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