In answering Levi's question, I would have to say that I do not believe that education is the primary issue. While a comprehensive education program is important, one that includes all
aspects of sex education and HIV (and other STD and pregnancy) prevention education to assist young people to make healthy decisions about sex and to adopt healthy sexual behaviors, the primary obligation to steer children down the safest path rests firmly with the parents.
It is the lack of responsible parenting that is the biggest contributing factor to the unsafe sex practices being used by many teenagers and young adults. As has been stated prior, there are ALWAYS exceptions, but those are purely anecdotal. Statistically speaking, the groups engaged in the most risky sexual behaviors are those that come from broken homes, or those that, although from two-parent homes, have parents who do not take an active interest/role in their children's lives. Again, I understand that there are exceptions.
I am fully aware that what I am about to say will anger many, and I'm sure many more will disagree, and I will take criticisms with a light heart, but it is my opinion that a lot of this blame lies at the feet of men/fathers. It has been proven time and time again that daughters who have fathers who are active and involved in their lives make smarter choices throughout life, especially in regard to whether or not to become sexually active and to use safe sex practices. It has also been proven that daughters who do not have involved fathers are more likely to look for replacement for that missing male affection from any source willing to provide it. This does not make for a winning combination.
You have girls (cue the music) looking for love in all the wrong places, and boys who are more than willing to take advantage of that void. When a pregnancy does result, as mentioned in this thread, unlike in years past, it is more common for the boy/man to hit the road than to stick around to raise the child. Why is that? What has changed in men's moral composition that they are no longer interested in being responsible for their obligations? I could make you a list of names of men who have fathered multiple children with multiple women, and they keep moving on down the road, most not providing any means of child support to the first on the list, let alone number five down the line. There are also plenty of men, unlike decades past, who are more than happy to sit at home playing PlayStation, XBox, smoking a joint and drinking with pals, than work a consistent job (or job at all), while the girlfriend/wife works multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Where is the pride, the motivation, the character?
Richard mentioned the idea of graduating from high school, working for experience, and then marrying young and going to college. While in theory that may be a wonderful idea (although I am sure many would argue it is an antiquated notion), it simply would not work because most men are no longer interested in settling down at the age of 21 or 22, and many are never interested. They are more than happy to play house until something better turns up.
Bottom line, we have too many girls being raised without positive male role models, and when they in turn look to fill the void, too many find men of their fathers' molds, making bad decisions in the process and creating a never-ending cycle, with more babies raised without positive male role models.
For those of you who stuck with me throughout my diatribe, thank you.
And for those looking for your pitchforks and torches, who think that I am a heartless man-basher, please know that I am married to a wonderful man, who obviously had no issues about committing to marriage at a young age, and who is the most fantastic role model for which a child could ask. We will see how than pans out for our children.