By Emily Elam, Bloomberg Businessweek, 11:29 p.m.
ET February 13, 2020 | Updated February 13:01 a.m., 14 February 2020, 10:52:30A lack of access to safe sex education for college students has led to a shortage of resources in the U: less than half of the states have mandated safe sex information for students, and only four states, California, Colorado, Illinois and New York, have set up programs for them, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress.
The lack of educational resources, which has contributed to an increase in sexual assault on college campuses, has also led to increased pressure on college students to use condoms.
This is the second time this year that the Center on Sexual Health has issued a report highlighting the lack of information available on safer sex and other sexually transmitted infections among college students.
“A lack in information about sexual health and STIs among college and university students is a problem, and we know how important it is for students to have access to education,” said Susan Stoller, director of the Center.
“The College Health Institute and other groups have been working on this problem for years, but it’s never been as urgent or as bad as it is now.
This year is a new record in terms of the lack in access to the education and information that is needed for college and universities to reduce their rates of sexual assault.”
The report is based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which released the results of a survey of more than 3,500 U. S. college students in January.
It found that only one-third of students who reported having sex in the previous month were aware of the availability of STI information.
Of those who had been sexually active in the past month, only 38 percent knew about STI education programs, and a quarter of those who knew knew were using condoms at least occasionally.
This year, the CDC reported that only 21 percent of U.s. high school students and 12 percent of college students reported using condoms and other sexual protection measures in the last month.
The report also found that the prevalence of STIs rose by 6 percent among college-aged men and 11 percent among high school-aged women.
The CDC also noted that about one-fifth of the young adults surveyed said they used condoms in the preceding month, compared to fewer than one-quarter of those in the general population.
The report, “Students, Parents, and Sexual Health,” found that more than a third of students, parents and sexual health professionals say they have never heard of STIS.
Students reported that they know the CDC recommends condoms, but many have never received any instruction on safe sex, including those who use condoms for the first time.
The study also found, “Most students, their parents, and their sexual health providers are unaware that condoms are not required for all sexual activity.”
In a statement, the Centers of Disease Control, in collaboration with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), said, “The lack (of information) about safe sex is both an epidemic and a public health crisis.
As we continue to expand the number of students and their parents who are educated about STIs, we will continue to support efforts to improve the health and safety of our students, especially those at risk of STDs.”
The Centers for Diseases Control and Control and the Centers to Prevent Sexual and Reproductive Harm say that they are working to improve access to STI and sexual education for students.
“While we recognize that the information is important, the focus should be on reducing sexual risk rather than increasing access to this information, and that is why we are developing more than 2,000 resources and increasing the number and availability of STD education and education-related training,” the CDC said.
In the meantime, the number one concern for students is access to condoms, said Dr. Mark P. Siegel, the chief of adolescent medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
“We need to make sure we’re providing the information that we have to the students who are actually at risk,” Siegel said.
“There is a lot of misinformation out there, and if we can just make sure students know that there are ways to avoid getting sexually transmitted diseases, they will be more willing to take advantage of those resources.”
Follow Emily Elem on Twitter at: @emilyemlem