While the findings show that adolescents are not receiving critical information, of even greater concern is that a significant percentage of young people don’t receive any information about birth control and sexually transmitted disease prevention before they begin to have sexual intercourse.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, also found significant gender and racial disparities in adolescents’ access to comprehensive sex education.

Females were more likely than males to report receiving instruction in waiting until marriage to have sex, while males were more likely than females to report instruction in condom use.

The study also found that significantly fewer Black and Hispanic males than white males received instruction in saying no to sex, birth control, and HIV and STI prevention. Queer youth were less likely than their straight peers to report instruction about HIV/STI prevention and where to get birth control.

And while religious institutions in the United States play a central role in sex education for many adolescents, teens that report religious settings as their main source are not receiving any information about birth control.

“The findings show that most adolescents are not receiving sex education that will enable them to manage their sexual lives,” says Leslie M. Kantor, professor and chair of the urban-global public health department at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“Of even more concern is that young people of color and queer youth are receiving less sex education and males and females are receiving different messages. Policymakers at every level must invest in inclusive and comprehensive sex education programs with an eye toward greater equity and inclusivity.”

Read the full article about sex-ed disparities by Patti Verbanas at Futurity.