Campus Progress reports about a recent study done by the Cook County Department of Public Health that surveyed 1,718 students at 20 suburban public high schools about health issues. The data released reinforces a need for a comprehensive sexual health education program in Illinois that, in addition to stressing abstinence, teaches medically accurate and age-appropriate information about sexual health.

Responses indicated that 37 percent of teens have had sex—61 percent of African-American teens, 49 percent of Hispanic teens, and 24 percent of white teens.

“As a public health department, we support the need for comprehensive sex education in our schools, and we know we do not have it,” Amy Poore, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Health, told Campus Progress. “And teens are still engaging in these sexual behaviors.”

Poore said most schools teach an abstinence-only curriculum.

With so many teens engaging in sex, it’s crucial that they learn how to protect themselves, advocates say.

Read the whole thing.