Increased Rate of Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases amongst


College Students

Research Proposal


The essay will focus on the problem of increased rate of pregnancyand sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) amongst college students.Many young people of college going age engage in risky sexualbehaviors, which expose them to negative health outcomes. Researchdepicts that STDs are among the highly infectious illnesses inAmerica, and they do not only affect grownups, but youths who aresexually active (DiClemente, Salazar and Crosby 888). Despite beingthe smallest population of sexually active Americans, young peopleaged 15 to 24 years represent almost half of emerging STD infections,which include HIV (DiClemente et al. 888).

Further research indicates that “concerns over pregnancy areanother issue for adolescents who have sex. This anxiety affectsgirls more than boys” (Brannon 260). The U.S. has the highestpregnancy rates among teenagers compared to other industrializednations. This is because “72.2 of every 1,000 teenage girls between15 and 19 years old living in the United States get pregnant eachyear. This rate was higher 20 years ago, declined 38% between 1990and 2001, but begun to increase again” (Brannon 260). Thus, theproblem cannot be ignored, and it is important that possiblesolutions are implemented towards reducing pregnancy and STDsinfection among college students.

Possible Solutions

Social marketing – researchers suggest that it is possible tochange the behavior of college students, who engage in risky sexualbehavior, through social marketing (Spencer and Hurley 393-394). Thisrefers to using the media to promote programs aimed at encouragingstudents to avoid risky behaviors. The approach entails the use ofmarketing principles in designing and implementing programs as wellas information campaigns, which emphasize on the need for selectivebehaviors within a target population. For instance, an advertisementthat informs young people on why they should avoid risky sexualengagements.

Preventive approaches – Spencer and Hurley (394) argue that it isimportant for college health providers to focus on addressingprevention when providing health care services to college students.These include measures like counseling as well as screening forhigh-risk activities. The argument is that it is important to notonly treat students, but ensure that the treatment is accompanied bya session of counseling and screening. For instance, if a studentaccesses health care services from a college health provider, and thehealth care need involves treatment of an STD, the provider shouldencourage the student to screen for other STDs. In addition, theprovider should use the opportunity to counsel the student on why heor she should avoid risky sexual activities.

Enhance sex education in colleges – research indicates that youngpeople in college are rarely provided with information on how toprevent pregnancy and STDs (O’Sullivan, Udell, Montrose, Antonielloand Hoffman 2). This is despite the fact that college studentsrepresent the highest percentage of Americans involving in sexualbehaviors, which enhance teenage pregnancy and the spread of sexuallytransmitted illnesses. Hence, it is important that sex education ispromoted in all colleges. This will ensure that college studentscontinuously receive information on how to prevent early pregnancies,how to protect themselves from new and recurrent STD infections, andgenerally how to avoid risky sexual activities.


The essay focuses on the possible solution of enhancing sexeducation in colleges. While the other two solutions are equallyimportant, I think the latter is a good solution as, it ensures thatcollege students are continuously imparted with knowledge on riskysexual behaviors. Also, I think that sex education is the mosteffective way of teaching young adults all they need to know aboutsex. This reduces the possibility that they will naively be lied toabout sex. In addition, students gain correct knowledge on how toprevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy.

Possible Counterarguments

Sex education encourages students to indulge in sexual intercourse.Some people argue that by teaching college students about sex, theydevelop an urge to experiment. As a result, they end up indulging insexual activities, most of which are dangerous. By doing so, sexeducation becomes irrelevant in its role of preventing such riskybehaviors.

Another counterargument is that sex education seems to focus more onabstinence. By advocating for abstinence, the education insists onthe peril of sexual behaviors to young people. Brannon (260) notesthat such programs fail to inform young people on how to prevent STDsor become oriented for prospect sexuality. Considering that there isa high rate of sexual engagement among young people, it is notrealistic to educate the population on how to abstain only. Instead,sex education should cover all aspects of sexuality.


The rate of pregnancy and STDs amongst college students isincreasing. College students largely comprise of America’s youngpopulation. Statistics indicate that the rates of STDs are highestamid young people aged 25 years and below, as well as abortion rates(O’Sullivan et al. 2). Further research shows that “one in threesexually active people will contact a sexually transmitted infectionby the time they are 24” (O’Sullivan et al. 2). When compared toyouths in other industrialized countries, America ranks highest withmore teen pregnancy and STD infections among young adults. Thisimplies that youths are highly sexually active. Hence, as a societywe should be concerned about how to reduce the high rates ofpregnancy and STDs amongst our young population.

In the following discussion, the essay argues that a possiblesolution to the problem involves enhancing sex education in colleges.This will ensure that the young adults are connected to preventionefforts, gain knowledge on the dangers of risky sexual behavior, andare continuously informed on how to prevent sexually transmittedinfections and early unwanted pregnancies.

According to a research conducted by O’Sullivan et al. (2), “youngpeople are less connected to organized prevention efforts. Yet, thereare many indices suggesting high rates of unprotected sexual activityin this group”. The authors note that sex education seems to targethigh school students only. At the high school level, students areprovided with ample information on the outcomes of unprotected sexualactions. However, once the students join college, the information israrely provided. This is regardless of the fact that STD infectionrates and early pregnancies are highest amongst college students. Forinstance, there has been a rise in the pregnancy rate for females intheir 20s. The findings demonstrate that sexual education is alsorequired for college going students.

Sex education does not only connect youths to prevention efforts,but also ensures that they gain knowledge on the dangers of riskysexual engagements. We live in a world where there are numeroussources of information. Young people may depend on the media as theirsource of information, concerning issues such as sex education.However, the media may provide such information in ways that aredistorted, or at times the information may be false (Bruess andGreenberg 21). Individuals who do not receive sex education mightconsider the distorted and false information to be correct. Forinstance, young people are constantly exposed to movies where peoplehave unprotected sex with many partners. This may instill the thoughtthat it is okay to have many sexual partners. Sex education ensuresthat youths receive the right information and as a result they avoidrisky sexual activities.

In addition, sex education ensures that college students arecontinuously informed on how to prevent STDs and early unwantedpregnancies. Research shows that knowledge on how to prevent STDs andpregnancy is insufficient to result in behavior change among youths(O’Sullivan et al. 2). This is because “when young people doreport using prevention methods, closer assessments often reveal thatthey do not do so accurately, consistently, or at all” (O’Sullivanet al. 2). This is apparent through condom use mistakes andmisconceptions that contraception can prevent infections. Hence, itis important to continuously educate youths on effective ways ofpreventing sexually related infections and pregnancy.

Despite the support for sex education discussed above, thecounter-arguments cannot be ruled out. Some people might argue thatby teaching young people about sex, they develop the urge toexperiment. Although, this may be true, it is important to note thatwith or without sex education, youths will always experiment. Hence,it is better for them to experiment when they have the rightinformation about sex. In addition, is the counterargument that sexeducation largely focuses on abstinence (Brannon 260), which is nottrue because, the education dwells on all aspects of sexuality,abstinence being one of them. As the researchers supporting sexeducation, indicate, the education also focuses on issues such asproper condom use to prevent STD infection (O’Sullivan et al. 2).

In conclusion, it is important that young people continuouslyreceive sex education. This is especially the case for collegestudents, who comprise of the highest population of youths. Also,they are highly engaged in sexual behavior that leads to unwantedpregnancies and high STD infection rates. Sex education is aneffective way of reducing risky sexual behavior among the population.

Works Cited

Brannon, Linda. Gender: Psychological Perspectives, Sixth Edition.Louisana: Psychology Press, 2015.

Bruess, Clint and Greenberg, Jerrold. Sexuality Education: Theoryand Practice. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2004.

DiClemente, Ralph., Salazar, Laura and Crosby, Richard. A Review ofSTD/HIV Preventive Interventions for Adolescents: Sustaining EffectsUsing an Ecological Approach. Journal of Pediatric Psychology32.8(2007): 888-906.

O’Sullivan, Lucia F., Udell, Wadiya., Montrose, Vernique.,Antoniello, Patrician and Hoffman, Susie. A Cognitive Analysis ofCollege Students’ Explanations for Engaging in Unprotected SexualIntercourse. Archives of Sexual Behavior 39.5(2010): 1-17.

Spencer, Turner and Hurley, Janet. The History and Practice ofCollege Health. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky,2002.