we’re all gonna die etc.

I swear to god, reading is often like standing in front of a fire hose of high-pressure stupid, turned up all the way. I’ve relegated it off to an infrequently checked filter, and even then… five minutes of trawling through it is enough to convince me that it doesn’t matter if Bush gets re-elected, because this entire country’s under-21 population is going to be HIV-positive and pregnant in another 5 years. Doom doom de doom de doom.

What I wonder is: was I just extremely lucky? Ann Arbor had excellent primary school sex ed starting in 5th grade, taught by actual educators who were not also the gym teacher. Philadelphia’s was a little more lackluster, but it was in the immediate aftermath of the Koop Report, so they were at least making an effort to talk about contraception and STD-prevention in a vaguely fact-based way. While I may not have been any less awkward about sexual matters than any other 16-year-old, I at least had the basics down: use condoms, your body belongs to you, don’t get pressured into stuff you don’t want, gay people are not slime-monsters from the underworld, you can get pregnant standing up, these are the symptoms of the major non-HIV STDs, and if you think something is wrong, ask a doctor not your idiot friends. The bare, but useful, minimum.

Was this just an artifact of living first in a hippie enclave and then in a major east-coast city, or has “abstinence-centered education” been as much of a complete fucking disaster as I suspect it was? Or was the status quo always this bad and 10+ years of STD-awareness activism failed to budge it? The friends I personally have in the 16-21 age group seem to generally be pretty savvy about this stuff, but that’s probably a cohort with a pretty strong self-selection bias for these factors.

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