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Study: Facts Of Life Ed Helps Reduce Pregnancies

Posted by Jane Akre
Tuesday, March 25, 2008 10:08 AM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Cervical Cancer, Gardasil, FDA and Prescription Drugs

Teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education have a 60 percent less likelihood of becoming pregnant.  



IMAGE SOURCE: WikiMedia Commons/ Teen girls/ Savaman 

It is called comprehensive sex education and it includes information about birth control, condoms, sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy as well as sex in general.

This is the first national survey of how this type of education compares to the abstinence-only approach long heralded as keeping kids disinterested in sex.

In this Journal of Adolescent Health report, heterosexual teens ages 15 to 19 who had comprehensive sex education in school were 60 percent more likely to avoid pregnancy either becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant.

Abstinence only is supported by federal mandate which gives about $170 million a year to states to teach the “just say no” approach to sex. Condoms and birth control are discussed in the context of their failure rate.

Clearly that is not working.

Among those teens receiving the abstinence only message, there was no delay in the age of sexual intercourse.  

But when compared to teens who had received no sex education classes, the abstinence only teens were less likely to become pregnant, though the difference was not statistically significant.

In the data, collected in 2002 by the University of Washington, ten percent of teenagers 15 to 19 had no formal sex education, one quarter had abstinence-only and two thirds had comprehensive sex education.  

Critics of sex education allege that it is likely to lead to teens wanting to have sex and earlier, but this study finds no evidence that comprehensive sex education increased teen sex rates or the rates of sexually transmitted diseases.

In fact, neither comprehensive sex education nor abstinence-only reduced the STD risk.

A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that one in four girls has a sexually transmitted disease has shocked the nation and has educators scrambling to understand what can improve and fast.

Among those teens who admitted having sex- 40 percent had an STD.

 Some STDs such as human papillomavirus, which was the most prevalent STD in the CDC survey at 18 percent, can lead to cervical cancer.

Chlamydia, which can lead to infertility affected 4 percent in the CDC survey; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and genital herpes, 2 percent.

More sexually transmitted disease is occurring at the time that the birth rate among teens rose for the first time in 15 years between 2005 and 2006.

The bottom line is that there is strong evidence that comprehensive sex education is more effective than abstinence-only education at preventing teen pregnancies," said lead researcher Pamela K. Kohler, of the Center for AIDS and STD at the University of Washington in Seattle told Reuters Health.

She adds that this study debunks the myth that the more teens learn about birth control, the more likely they are to have sex.  Now for the difficult part – teaching teens they are not invulnerable and the policy changes that follow, Kohler says.  #


1 Comment

Posted by carlos
Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:57 AM EST

Anything other than comprehemnsive sex education will fail.

Abstinence only works in a perfect world where our youth is not bombarded with sexy marketing messages and pushed by peer pressure.

Besides, they're young, they want to experience life and they feel invinsible.

We must teach them brutally honest sex education based in reality and not veiled under religious cloaks such as abstinence.

Comments for this article are closed.

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