Background

Beginning in the 1970s, concerns over adolescent pregnancy—and later, HIV/AIDS—galvanized widespread public support for sex education in schools. Most states currently have a policy requiring HIV education, usually in conjunction with broader sex education. Meanwhile, as debate over the relative merits of abstinence-only-until-marriage messages versus more comprehensive approaches has intensified, states have enacted a number of specific content requirements. Growing acknowledgment of young people’s sexuality has popularized instruction on life skills, with most states now requiring instruction on healthy relationships and the prevention of sexual violence.

Highlights

General Requirements for Sex Education and HIV Education

Content Requirements When Sex Education is Taught

Content Requirements When HIV Education is Taught

Life Skills Requirements for Sexual Consent, Relationships and Prevention of Dating and Sexual Violence

 

General Requirements for Sex* and HIV Education

STATE

SEX EDUCATION* MANDATED

HIV EDUCATION MANDATED

WHEN PROVIDED, SEX OR HIV EDUCATION MUST

PARENTAL ROLE

 

Be Medically Accurate

Be Age Appropriate

Be Culturally Appropriate and Unbiased

Cannot Promote Religion

Notice

Consent

Opt-out allowed

Alabama

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

   X  

Alaska

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Arizona

 

 

HIV

X

 

 

X

Sex

   HIV

Arkansas

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

Colorado

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

 

X

Connecticut

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Delaware

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dist. of Columbia

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Florida

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

Georgia

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Hawaii

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Idaho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Illinois

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Indiana†​

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Iowa

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

Kansas

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kentucky

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

 

X

Maine

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Maryland

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

 

X

Michigan

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Minnesota

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MississippiΩ​

X

 

 

X

 

 

X

X

 

Missouri

 

X

X

X

 

 

X

 

X

Montana

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

X

 

New Hampshire

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

New Jersey

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

New Mexico

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

New York

 

X

 

HIV

 

 

 

 

HIV

North Carolina

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

North Dakota

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Oklahoma

 

X

HIV

 

 

 

X

 

X

Oregon

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

Pennsylvania

 

X

 

HIV

 

 

HIV

 

HIV

Rhode Island

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

HIV

South Carolina

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Tennessee

XΨ​

X

X

X

X

 

X

X

 

Texas

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Utahξ​

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

X

 

Vermont

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

HIV

Virginia

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

 

X

Washington

 

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

West Virginia

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Wisconsin

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

TOTAL

29+DC

39+DC

17

26+DC

9

3

25+DC

5

36+DC

 

*    Sex education typically includes discussion of STIs.
†    Sex education is not mandatory, but health education is required and it includes medically accurate information on abstinence.
Ω   Localities may include topics such as contraception or STIs only with permission from the State Department of Education.
Ψ   Sex education is required in a county if the pregnancy rate is at least 19.5 or higher per 1,000 young women aged 15—17.
ξ    State also prohibits teachers from responding to students' spontaneous questions in ways that conflict with the law's requirements.

 

Content Requirements for Sex* and HIV Education

State

When provided, sex education must include:

When provided, HIV education must include:

 

Contraception

Abstinence

Importance of sex Only within marriage

Sexual orientation

Negative outcomes of teen sex

Condoms

Abstinence

Alabama

X

Stress

X

Negative

 

X

Stress

Arizona

 

Stress 

 

Negative

X

 

Stress

Arkansas

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

Stress

California

X

Cover 

 

Inclusive

 

X

Cover

Colorado

X

Stress

 

Inclusive

X

X

Cover

Connecticut

X

Cover

 

Inclusive

X

 

 

Delaware

X

Stress

 

Inclusive

 

X

Stress

Dist. of Columbia

X

Cover

 

Inclusive

X

 

Cover

Florida

 

Stress

X

Negative

X

 

Stress

Georgia

 

Stress

X

 

 

 

Cover

Hawaii

X

Stress

 

 

 

X

Stress

Idaho

 

Stress

 

 

 

 

 

Illinois

X

Stress

X

Negative

X

X

Stress

Indiana

 

Stress

X

 

X

 

Stress

Iowa

 

 

 

Inclusive

 

 

 

Kentucky

 

Stress

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

Stress

Maine

X

Stress 

 

 

 

X

Stress

Maryland

X

Cover 

 

 

 

X

Cover

Michigan

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

Stress

Minnesota

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

MississippiΩ​

 

Stress 

X

 

X

 

Stress

Missouri

 

Stress

X

 

X

 

Stress

New Hampshire

 

Cover

 

 

 

 

Cover

New Jersey

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

X

X

Stress

New Mexico

X

Cover

 

Inclusive

X

X

Stress

New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

North Carolina

X

Stress

X

 

X

X

Stress

North Dakota

 

Cover

X

 

X

 

 

Ohio

 

Stress

X

 

X

 

Stress

Oklahoma

 

Stress

 

 

X

Stress

Oregon

X

Stress

 

Inclusive

 

X

Stress

Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Rhode Island

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

X

X

Stress

South Carolina

X

Stress 

X

Negative

 

 

Stress

South Dakota

 

Cover

 

 

 

 

 

Tennessee

 

Stress 

X

 

X

 

Stress

Texas

X

Stress

X

Negative

X

X

Stress

Utahξ

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

Stress

Vermont

X

Cover

 

 

X

X

Cover

Virginia

X

Cover

X

 

X

X

Cover

Washington

X

Stress

 

Inclusive

 

X

Stress

West Virginia

X

Cover

 

 

X

X

Cover

Wisconsin

 

Stress

X

 

 

 

Stress

TOTAL

20+DC

39+DC

19

17+DC

19+DC

19

37+DC

*    Sex education typically includes discussion of STIs.
Ω   Localities may include topics such as contraception  or STIs only with permission from the state Department of Education.
ᶲ    Mandated HIV education teaches that, among other behaviors, “homosexual activity” is considered to be “responsible for contact with the AIDS virus.”
ξ    State also prohibits teachers from responding to students' spontaneous questions in ways that conflict with the law's requirements.

 

Sex Education* to Include Life Skills on Sexual Consent, Relationships and Prevention of Violence

State

Healthy relationships

Sexual decision-making and self-discipline

Refusal skills and personal boundaries

Consent

Dating and sexual violence prevention

Alabama

 

X

X

 

X

Alaska

 

 

 

 

X

Arizona

X

X

X

 

X

Arkansas

X

X

X

 

X

California

X

X

X

X

X

Colorado

X

X

X

X

X

Connecticut

X

X

 

 

X

Delaware

X

X

X

X

X

Dist. of Columbia

X

X

X

X

X

Florida

X

X

 

 

X

Georgia

 

 

X

 

X

Hawaii

X

X

 

 

 

Idaho

X

X

 

 

 

Illinois

X

 

X

X

X

Indiana

 

 

 

 

X

Iowa

X

 

 

 

X

Kentucky

X

X

 

 

 

Louisiana

X

X

 

 

X

Maine

X

X

 

 

X

Maryland

X

X

X

X

X

Massachusetts

X

 

 

 

X

Michigan

 

X

X

 

X

Mississippi

 

 

 

 

X

Missouri

 

X

X

 

X

Nebraska

X

 

 

 

X

Nevada

 

X

 

 

 

New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

X

New Jersey

X

 

X

X

X

New Mexico

X

X

X

 

X

North Carolina

X

X

X

 

X

Ohio

X

 

 

 

X

Oklahoma

 

 

X

 

 

Oregon

X

X

X

X

X

Pennsylvania

X

 

 

 

 

Rhode Island

X

X

X

 

X

South Carolina

X

 

X

X

X

Tennessee

X

X

X

 

X

Texas

X

X

X

 

X

Utah

 

 

X

 

X

Vermont

X

X

 

 

X

Virginia

X

X

X

 

X

Washington

X

X

X

 

X

West Virginia

X

 

X

 

X

Wisconsin

 

 

 

 

X

TOTAL

31+DC

26+DC

24+DC

8+DC

37+DC

*    Sex education typically includes discussion of STIs.