Saturday, April 14, 2007

Abstinence education programs don't work

More than 2,000 children and young teens who participated in federally funded abstinence-education programs were no more likely to abstain from sex than schoolmates who didn't receive the information, according to a government report released yesterday.

In all four test sites, youths in the abstinence-education program and youths who received regular school services were not different in their sexual behavior four to six years later.

I know many conservatives argue that abstinence-only education should replace traditional sex education. The above-referenced study should give us pause, though, because, apparently, if a kid is going to have sex, abstinence education will not stop them. However, if they have not been taught about safe sex, we may have more teen pregnancies and STDs on our hands.

Read the Washington Times article here.


Jim F said...

One of the drugs I sell is valtrex which is for herpes. I hear horror stories from doctors about 12 year olds with herpes. The fact of the matter is 1 in 4 people in the US has herpes and 75% of them don't know about it. This number is growing. The biggest growth is in teens. In fact most STD are on the rise. Kids having sex before marriage(oral and intercourse) is on the rise accoriding to surveys.

The only postive is teenage pregnancy is declining. You take a look at that and you say safe sex education works. Then you look at every other stat and you can clearly see it doesn't. We are obviously going in the wrong direction. I think abstinence programs is the ideal way . The problem is you couple that with our culture which glorifies sex before marriage and you have a major problem. The abstinence programs are a joke to kids. It is like a big tank running over a small ant.

It is very sad.

Eric said...

I couldn't agree more. 12 year olds with herpes is incredibly sad. But this study shows that abstinence education isn't working. Let's find something that works.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should show pictures of these horrible diseases and how they affect people their WHOLE lives. Maybe shock treatment is the answer. I am sure, however, certain groups would be opposed to that kind of education for kids.

Eric said...

From an article in the Guardian: "...even in 1990s Texas, where Mr Bush spent $10m a year on abstinence education, the state had the fifth highest teen pregnancy rate in the US. Over the past six years he has stepped up the programme to more than $100m a year. He recently braved ridicule by extending it to adults aged 20-29, an age range in which 90% of people are sexually active."

The fact that abstinence education doesn't work does not fill me with joy, even though I had a feeling it wouldn't work--now the research shows that. I do not want teenagers having sex any more than my right wing compatriots. But when "more than $1 billion of federal money has been spent on promoting abstinence since 1998 - posters printed, television advertisements broadcast and entire education programs devised for hundreds of thousands of girls and boys," we have to try something different. Please let's stop throwing money down this sinkhole.

Maybe the problem is that abstinence education isn't designed to work. Maybe it's not really a policy decision--rather, it's a decision meant to align with certain religious principles. That's fine, I suppose. But the policy still needs to work. And it doesn't. So let's stop it and maybe try something new.

Read the article here:,,2058066,00.html

Jim F said...


The problem is safe sex doesn't work either. In fact it makes it worse. Much more tax money is spent on planned parenthood doing the the opposite of abstinence education. It goes both ways

You need to change the culture of america. You can't take a small sample size and say abstinence education doesn't work. It doesn't work because of all the other opposite messaging out there. We are talking decades of anti abstinence stances. Degrading of moral values is what caused this problem. It has to be reversed. It starts with abstinence education and needs to be expanded. How? I have no idea. You can't aid sex before marriage by talking about how to be safer while doing it.

Bibical opinion or not. You don't have sex... you don't get pregnant and you don't get STDs.

I think Karyn's idea is spot on. I think You need to explain why waiting to have sex is a must. Show how Cervical cancer kills 19-25 years olds because they got the HPV virus. Which is much more prevalant than HIV. Then again smoking is on the rise even though millions are spent on fear tatics. So who knows?

I honestly think this situation is too far gone. I don't think it can be improved. Well maybe it can but I am not sure how.