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Sexual Education On The Decline In Mass. High Schools

A new report shows a significant drop in the number of public high schools in Massachusetts that teach sex education, which has health officials worried about the possibility of more teenagers engaging in risky sexual behavior.

More than 10 percent of the state's public high schools, and about 30 percent of its middle schools, don't offer health education classes, which usually cover AIDS prevention and sexual education, according to the report.

That's worrisome because students who do get sex ed in school typically make safer decisions when it comes to sex, said Kevin Cranston, director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease for the state Department of Public Health, which did the report.

"If this trend continues, I am concerned that we will see increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections, early sexual experience before the age of 13, multiple sexual partners and other indicators of sexual risk," Cranston said.

Cranston said some schools have eliminated sex ed due to budget cuts or because of the time needed for other academics and standardized test preparation.

This program aired on November 18, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Sacha Pfeiffer Twitter Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.

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