Statistics presented at a Pickens Family Connections meeting.
At the most recent Pickens Family Connections meeting, sex education in public schools was brought up after statistics on local STD rates in youth were presented.
According to the Georgia Family Connections Partnership report, the rate of STDs in Pickens County youth ages 15-19 has increased from 10.9 per 1,000 in 2012 to 12.3 per 1,000 in 2016. While the most recent numbers are significantly lower than the state’s rate of 29.8 out of 1,000 youth in that age group with an STD, it indicates the county is worsening by more than 10 percent.
Other data from the report shows that in 2016, there were eight pregnancies in the 15-17 age group here, or a rate of 14.5 per 1,000, slightly above the state rate of 14.4. For the same year it also shows 27 teen births in ages 15-19 here, or 31.4 per 1,000. This is above the state rate of 23.5 per 1,000.
Georgia requires emphasis on abstinence
Sex education is taught in middle and high school. Public schools are held to state requirements through the Georgia Department of Education, which states sex education in Georgia be: “a planned program that shall include instruction relating to the handling of peer pressure, promotion of high self-esteem, local community values, and abstinence from sexual activity as an effective method of preventing acquired immune deficiency syndrome and the only sure method of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. This instruction shall emphasize abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and fidelity in marriage as important personal goals.”
Read more about what's taught in local schools in this week's print and online editions.