NEW YORK (WCBS/CNN) – A new report from the New York State Health Department suggests giving HIV tests to youths as young as 13 and starting sex education in elementary school.
Some 60 percent of high school students in New York had sex by 12th grade. More than 25 percent by ninth grade, part of the reason why the state department of health just released the first Youth Sexual Health Plan.
Among the main objectives of this 22-page document: promote continuity and consistency of sex-ed across the state, reduce the rate of HIV/STD infections and reduce unintended teen pregnancies.
The statistics surrounding sexually transmitted diseases in youth from 2012 is scary.
Youth ages 15 to 24 accounted for 63 percent of reported STDs.
For newly diagnosed cases of HIV – one in five cases affected individuals younger than 25.
The recommendations are drawing mixed reviews from parents.
“I work around teenagers, and the vast majority of them, when I ask them if they’re sexually active, look at me like I’m crazy,” Joshua Stillman, a father of three, said. “I think that putting HIV testing in their face would not only be weird for them but not close to their consciousness.
But for Ricardo Lopez, who has a 14-year-old, its better to be tested and, if necessary, treated.
“Nowadays the way this youth is growing up, I agree with it,” he said.
The plan also suggests starting sex ed in elementary school for interested districts.