Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Study Shows Abstinence Programs Work

Sex education classes that focus on encouraging children to remain abstinent can persuade a significant proportion to delay sexual activity, researchers reported Monday Feb. 1 in a landmark study that could have major implications for U.S. efforts to protect young people against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. Currently, the District of Columbia does not allocate any funding for abstinence programs.

Only about a third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed an abstinence-focused program started having sex within the next two years, researchers found. Nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that combined information about abstinence and contraception, became sexually active.

The findings are the first clear evidence that an abstinence program could work, according to the Washington Post. However, several other studies have shown efficacy in reducing sexual activity, such as these, but this study is considered to be more definitive.

"I think we've written off abstinence-only education without looking closely at the nature of the evidence," said John B. Jemmott III, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania who led the federally funded study. "Our study shows this could be one approach that could be used. Read More
Source: The Washington Post Feb. 2, 2010 with additional content by Richard Urban

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