Background

Beginning in the 1970s, concerns over teen pregnancy– and later HIV/AIDS–galvanized widespread public support for sex education in schools. Most states today 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 versus more comprehensive approaches has intensified, states have enacted a number of specific content requirements. This brief summarizes state-level sex and HIV education policies, as well as specific content requirements, based on a review of state laws, regulations and other legally binding policies.

Highlights

General Requirements: Sex Education and HIV Education

Content Requirements When Sex Education is Taught

Content Requirements When HIV Education is Taught

General Requirements: 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

Alabama

 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

   X  

Arizona

 

 

 

X

 

 

HIV

Sex

   HIV

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

Georgia

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Hawaii

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Idaho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Illinois†​

 

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Indiana

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 X

Iowa

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

Kentucky

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Louisiana

 

 

 

X

 

X

X

 

X

Maine

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

Maryland

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Massachusetts

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Michigan

 

X

X‡​

X

 

 

X

 

X

Minnesota

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MississippiΩ​

X

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Missouri

 

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Montana

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nevada

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

X

 

New Hampshire

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

New Jersey

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

New Mexico

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

New York

 

X

 

HIV

 

 

 

 

HIV

North Carolina

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

North Dakota

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Oklahoma

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Oregon

X

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

Pennsylvania

 

X

 

HIV

 

 

X

 

HIV

Rhode Island

X

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

South Carolina

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Tennessee

XΨ​

X

 

HIV

 

 

 

 

X

Texas

 

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Utahξ​

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

X

 

Vermont

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X  

Virginia

 

 

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

Washington

 

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

West Virginia

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Wisconsin

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

TOTAL

24+DC

34+DC

13

26+DC

8

2

22+DC

3

37+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.
    Sex education "shall not be medically inaccurate."
   Localities may include topics such as contraception  or STIs only with permission from the State Department of Education.
Ψ   Sex education is required if the pregnancy rate for 15-17 teen women is at least 19.5 or higher.
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

WHEN PROVIDED, HIV EDUCATION MUST

 

Include Information on

Include Life Skills for

Include Information on

 

Contra-ception

Abstinence

Importance of Sex Only Within Marriage

Sexual Orientation

Negative Outcomes of Teen Sex

Avoiding Coercion

Healthy Decision-making

Family Communication

Condoms

Abstinence

Alabama

X

Stress

X

Negative

X

X

 

 

X

Stress

Arizona

 

Stress 

 

X

X

 

 

 

Stress

Arkansas

 

Stress 

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

Stress

California

X

Cover 

 

Inclusive

 

 X 

X

X

X

Cover

Colorado

X

Cover 

 

Inclusive

 

X

X

X

X

Cover

Delaware

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

 

X

X

 

X

Stress

Dist. of Columbia

X

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

Florida

 

Stress 

X

 

X

 X

 

 

 

Stress

Georgia

 

Stress 

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

Cover

Hawaii

X

Cover 

 

 

 

 

X

 

X

Stress

Illinois

X

Stress

X

 

X

X

 

 

X

Stress

Indiana

 

Stress

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Iowa

 

 

 

Inclusive

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kentucky

 

Stress

 

 

X

 

X

 

 

Cover

Louisiana

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Maine

X

Stress 

 

 

 

 

X

X

X

Stress

Maryland

X

Cover 

 

 

 

X

X

 

X

Cover

Michigan

 

Stress 

X

 

X

X

X

 

 

Stress

Minnesota

 

Cover 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

Cover

MississippiΩ​

Stress 

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

Stress

Missouri

 

Stress 

X

 

X

X

X

 

 

Stress

Montana

 

Cover 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover

New Hampshire

 

 

 

 

 

 X

 

 

Cover

New Jersey

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

 

 

X

 

X

Stress

New Mexico

X

Cover 

 

Inclusive

 

X

X

X

X

Stress

New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Stress

North Carolina

X

Stress 

X

 

 

X

X

X

X

Stress

North Dakota

 

Cover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ohio

 

Stress

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

Stress

Oklahoma

 

Stress 

 

 

 

 

 

X

Cover

Oregon

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

 

X

X

X

X

Stress

Pennsylvania

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Rhode Island

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

 

X

X

 

X

Stress

South Carolina

X

Stress 

X

Negative

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Tennessee

 

Stress 

X

 

X

X

X

X

 

Stress

Texas

 

Stress 

X

Negative

X

X

X

 

X

Stress

Utahξ​

 

Stress 

X

 

 

X

X

X

 

Stress

Vermont

X

Cover 

 

 

 

X

X

X

X

Cover

Virginia

X

Cover 

X

 

 

X

 

X

X

Cover

Washington

X

Stress 

 

Inclusive

 

 X

X

X

X

Stress

West Virginia

X

Cover 

 

 

X

X

X

 

X

Cover

Wisconsin

 

Stress 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress

Wyoming

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

18+DC

37

18

12

13

25+DC

22

11

20

39

*    Sex education typically includes discussion of STIs.
    If HIV education is taught in Arizona it cannot "promote" a "homosexual lifestyle" or portray homosexuality in a positive manner. Mandated    HIV education in Oklahoma teaches that among other behaviors that "homosexual activity" is considered to be "responsible for contact with the AIDS virus."
   Localities may include topics such as contraception  or STIs only with permission from the State Department of Education.
ξ    State also prohibits teachers from responding to students' spontaneous questions in ways that conflict with the law's requirements.