Boston could be the next city to join the likes of New York and Los Angeles as purveyors of (gasp!) common sense public health policy. The Boston School Committee will vote Wednesday evening on a policy proposal that would make both condoms and comprehensive sex-ed available in all of Bostons 35 public high schools.
This kind of progress would be particularly welcome, since Boston teens appear to be even friskier than their peers nationwide—54 percent of Boston high schoolers have engaged in sexual intercourse, compared to the 47 percent average across the country.
Sex education is currently only available in about 60 percent of Boston public schools, while condom distribution policies are decided by school principals. If Wednesday's proposal passes, students who need condoms would be able to get them, along with one-on-one counseling from a sexual health advisor.
According to a 2011 study, only about 60 percent of sexually active teenagers used a condom the last time they had sex. The cost of keeping condoms out of kids' hands is high: about 25 percent of new cases of sexually transmitted diseases occur amongst adolescents, and well, babies having babies is never a great plan. Studies also show that condom distribution is not linked to increased sexual activity, just safer sexual activity.
So far, the proposal has received broad support, despite the large Catholic population in the city that has argued against these measures in the past.