Sexual Health Education

LOUISIANA ADOLESCENT SEXUAL HEALTH FACTS

Adolescent Pregnancy

  • In 2013, Louisiana had the 6th highest pregnancy rate for young women ages 15–19 in the United States, with a rate of 54 pregnancies per 1,000 young women, compared to the national rate of 43 per 1,000.
  • In 2018, Louisiana had the 3rd highest birth rate for young women ages 15–19 in the United States, with a rate of 27.5 births per 1,000 young women, compared to the national rate of 17.4 per 1,000.
  • Both pregnancies and births among young women have declined in recent years, likely a result of increased use of contraception.
  • The public savings in 2015 due to declines in the teen birth rate totaled $69 million.

In April 2018, the Trump administration released two Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (TPPP) funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) that would fundamentally shift the program from one grounded in evidence to one emphasizing abstinence-only when it comes to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people.​ READ MORE

HIV and AIDS

  • In 2015, the rate of diagnoses of HIV infection among adolescents ages 13–19 in Louisiana was 16 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 5.8 per 100,000.
  • In 2015, the rate of AIDS diagnoses among adolescents ages 13–19 in Louisiana was 1.2 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 0.7 per 100,000.
  • In 2015, the rate of diagnoses of HIV infection among young adults ages 20–24 in Louisiana was 64 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 31.1 per 100,000.
  • In 2015, the rate of AIDS diagnoses among young adults ages 20–24 in Louisiana was 12.3 per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 5.6 per 100,000.

STDs

  • In 2015, Louisiana had the 2nd highest rate of reported cases of chlamydia among young people ages 15–19 in the United States, with an infection rate of 3,456.4 cases per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 1,857.8 per 100,000. In 2015, there were a total of 10,378 cases of chlamydia among young people ages 15–19 reported in Louisiana.
  • In 2015, Louisiana had the 2nd highest rate of reported cases of gonorrhea among young people ages 15–19 in the United States, with an infection rate of 943.5 cases per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 341.8 per 100,000. In 2015, there were a total of 2,833 cases of gonorrhea among young people ages 15–19 reported in Louisiana.
  • In 2015, Louisiana had the highest rate of reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis among young people ages 15–19 in the United States, with an infection rate of 26.3 cases per 100,000, compared to the national rate of 5.4 per 100,000. In 2015, there were a total of 79 cases of syphilis reported among young people ages 15–19 in Louisiana.

 

Louisiana Parent Survey: What Louisiana parents know, believe and perceive about school-based sex education

This report shows the results from a statewide survey of Louisiana parents' attitudes and perceptions regarding comprehensive sex education. 


Sexual Health Education Law in Louisiana

In 1991, a Louisiana statute set out to establish an adolescent school health initiative to facilitate and encourage development of comprehensive health centers in public middle and secondary schools in Louisiana to provide preventive health services, counseling, acute health services, and appropriate referral. (RS 40:31.3) 

The statute prohibited school health centers from:

  • Counseling or advocating abortion in any way or referring any student to any organization for counseling or advocating abortion.
  • Distributing at any public school any contraceptive or abortifacient drug, device, or other similar product.

A year later, a law passed requiring the secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals to establish a program to provide information to public assistance recipients regarding family planning, including information regarding abstinence, but excluding abortion. (RS 46:447.1)

In 1993, the Louisiana legislature passed a law establishing rules for providing instruction in sex education.

According to the statute (RS 17:281):

…any public elementary or secondary school in Louisiana may, but is not required to, offer instruction in subject matter designated as “sex education”, provided such instruction and subject matter is integrated into an existing course of study such as biology, science, physical hygiene, or physical education. Instruction may include the study of sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy, childbirth, puberty, menstruation, and menopause, as well as the dissemination of factual information about parental responsibilities.

The legislature established through this law that “sex education” shall not include religious beliefs, practices in human sexuality, nor the subjective moral and ethical judgments of the instructor or other persons.

The law also prohibits:

  • testing, quizzing, or surveying students about their personal or family beliefs or practices in sex, morality, or religion;
  • distributing any contraceptive or abortifacient drug, device, or other similar product at any public school;
  • using any sexually explicit materials depicting male or female homosexual activity; and
  • offering sex education instruction that in any way counsels or advocates abortion.

The statute encourages instruction that emphasizes abstinence.

The major emphasis of any sex education instruction offered in the public schools of this state shall be to encourage sexual abstinence between unmarried persons and any such instruction shall:

  • Emphasize abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage as the expected standard for all school-age children.
  • Emphasize that abstinence from sexual activity is a way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome, and other associated health problems.​
  • Emphasize that each student has the power to control personal behavior and to encourage students to base action on reasoning, self-esteem, and respect for others.

Parents or guardians have the option to excuse any child  from receiving instruction in sex education.