Youth sex education programs reduce unintended pregnancies

New UNESCO study on multiple benefits of sex education programs

A study conducted by UNESCO on sexuality education programmes in Estonia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Netherlands and Nigeria shows that investing in sexuality education programs for youth can be very cost-effective. The study is called Cost and cost-effectiveness: Analysis of school-based sexuality education programmes in six countries.

For example, between 2001 and 2009, a national sexuality education programme in Estonia was found to ‘avert’  nearly 2 000 HIV infections (at a potential lifetime cost of US$ 67 825 per patient), approximately 4 300 unintended pregnancies and more than 7 000 sexually transmitted infections.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in a post that rates of intended pregnancies remain high in Canada and that teens are an important group to think about in terms of FASD prevention (see the post here). Recent stats suggest that 75.5% of youth  report consuming alcohol in the past year and that the prevalence of heavy frequent drinking among youth 15 to 24 years of age is about 12% (as compared to 4% for adults 25 years and older).

Since most youth are not planning to get pregnant at this particular time of their lives, addressing contraception through sex education programs makes good sense and is an alternative  to focusing on alcohol and substance use.

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