New Mexico’s Sexual Education Problem

Marion Herbert's picture
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Though the Albuquerque teacher who surveyed his high school students on sexual experiences violated district policy on requesting sensitive information, he sought to address an issue that affects more New Mexican youth than those in most other states.

New Mexico, together with states like Arkansas, Texas, and Mississippi, lead the country in teen pregnancy. According to 2008 figures published by the federal Centers for Disease Control, The Land of Enlightenment trails only Mississippi in teenage births.

Also according to the CDC, 15 percent of New Mexico high school students had four or more sexual partners, based on a nationwide 2009 survey. Only 57 percent of high school students in the state used a condom during their most recent episode of sexual intercourse. Meanwhile, roughly 15 percent of high school-aged females were on birth control, while the national median is nearly 24 percent.

New Mexico students are also behind their national peers in sexual education. The same 2009 CDC survey indicates 77 percent of high school youth were taught about HIV/AIDS in school, compared to the U.S. median of nearly 86 percent.

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