It was a muggy afternoon, and Nakesha Martin raised her voice to be heard over the rattle of the air conditioner. “Is that a high-risk behavior, or a low-risk behavior?” she shouted to the class.
“High-risk,” came a murmured response. Martin beamed.
“That’s right,” she said, passing out candy in the direction of the reply. “And what could we have done to be safer?”
Used a condom, someone suggested. Not had sex. There was a round of sheepish laughter.
Martin was on the outskirts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where two dozen teens and several 12-year-olds had gathered as part of the city’s first serious push to offer every local teenager comprehensive lessons in sex education.
Over the next two hours, Martin doled out facts previous generations in Oklahoma, where sex education is not mandatory, were never taught. Yes, you can transmit HIV through oral sex. No, not through kissing. Later, the room crowded around a set of flashcards listing the steps for putting on a condom and tried to put them in order.
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