Potential Solutions

Potential Solutions

Reformed Sex Education

In Emily Gardner’s “Abstinence-Only Sex Education: College Students’ Evaluations and Responses” study, college students from Emory University and Georgia State University were interviewed. These students frequently reported that they were not informed about birth control or STD prevention. In general, most of the students reported that they never felt like abstinence was practical or reasonable. They also expressed discontent with the fact that marriage was made the goal for abstinence, but there was no more education on marriage and how to maintain a healthy relationship (Gardner).

Though all students had criticisms of abstinence only sex education, they were all also able to see the positive aspects of the information. They stated that the anatomy information was helpful, but that would have also been discussed in sex education that was not abstinence only. Some students also stated that the information on STDs was helpful, which is something that most abstinence based programs either do not discuss or use fear tactics rather than fact to express (Gardner).

When it came to describing the “ideal” sex education, all the students mentioned that they wanted an approach that assumes all students are sexually active, a method that approaches all options, more information about contraception, and information on health services (Gardner).

Contraceptive Methods

Though there is a large gap in transmission rates between males and females, it is interesting that successful antiretroviral drugs exist and are not properly implemented. In a double-blind, randomized controlled trial conducted by Quarraisha Abdool Karim et al. the effectiveness and safety of a gel formulation of tenofovir, “a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor” was examined. 445 women were given the actual gel, while 444 had a placebo gel. The study took place in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa with 18 to 40-year-old HIV negative women. Monthly assessments of HIV serostatus, safety, sexual behavior, and gel and condom use were conducted for 30 months. At the end of the study, it was concluded that the gel reduced HIV acquisition by 39%, and 54% in women with high gel adherence (Quarraisha et al.).

Tenofovir gel could be an incredible tool in reducing the gender inequality between men and women. Microbicides are developed with the intention of reducing STI acquisition. However, over 20 years of microbicide research there has been no meaningful protection against HIV infection. Tenofovir is an ideal antiretroviral drug because it is safe and has a long half-life. This study was conducted between May 2007 to March 2010. The study had two clinics that women were enrolled at, but the study was not meant to show any differentiation between the clinics (Quarraisha et al.).


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