Editor, Daily Nexus,

I’ve just about had it with our government’s support for an outdated and unsuccessful sex education philosophy that serves to censor and condemn more than help or edify. Over the past five years, a Republican-controlled Congress allocated over $900 million towards abstinence-only sex education programs.

Students in these abstinence-only programs are ill-informed, and thus ill-equipped to protect themselves if and when they do eventually become sexually active. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 61 percent of graduating high school seniors have had sex.

Supporters of the abstinence-only approach seem to think that teaching young people about safer sex is somehow an invitation for promiscuity. Oftentimes, these zealots appear to be more motivated by their conservative religious convictions than teenagers’ actual health.

Hands down, abstaining from sex is certainly the most effective method for preventing pregnancy or the transmission of STDs (like, duh). However, it’s simply not the most practical.

Students require a balanced, comprehensive approach to sexual health education, one that presents all the facts – the good, the bad and the ugly. This allows teens the chance to make their own informed decisions, given individual circumstances.

Half of all Americans will contract an STD before they turn 25. Shouldn’t we empower them with knowledge to protect themselves prior to sexual contact when it matters most?

On that note, if this issue matters to you too, or if you just want to learn more, come out for a free screening of the award-winning documentary, “The Education of Shelby Knox,” this Thursday.