POZLife: Life from the Infected and Effected point of veiw.

Report Slams Abstinence Programs

Posted by pozlife on November 8, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 7, 2007 – 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) A new report is adding to the growing evidence that federally funded abstinence only programs in schools have done nothing to reduce teen sex and can actually harm LGBT students.

"At present there does not exist any strong evidence that any abstinence program delays the initiation of sex, hastens the return to abstinence or reduces the number of sexual partners" among teenagers, the newest study, by the nonpartisan National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy concluded.

The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having "positive outcomes" including teenagers "delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use."

Since 1996, the federal government has spent over a half a billion taxpayer dollars on abstinence-only programs, despite federal, state and independent evaluations showing the programs to be counterproductive and fiscally wasteful.

A spending bill before Congress for the Department of Health and Human Services would provide $141 million in assistance for community-based, abstinence-only sex education programs, $4 million more than what President Bush had requested.

A 2006 study by the independent Society for Adolescent Medicine called the programs “scientifically and ethically flawed”.

When the report’s authors looked specifically and LGBT teens they found that abstinence-only education was "unlikely to meet the health needs" of the group because abstinence-only programs focus heavily on no sex until marriage and ignore homosexuality. This could lead to increased risk of infection among these youngsters, the investigators said.

In July the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, in New York, called abstinence only programs dangerous to gay youth.

They "promote an anti-gay bias, insisting that the only proper place for sex is within the context of heterosexual marriage, and that AIDS is the inevitable result of homosexuality," said Marjorie J. Hill, chief executive officer of Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

“Considering that young people ages 15 to 24 account for almost half of all new HIV infections reported in the United States each year, these programs put our youth in serious danger,” she said.

The Bush Administration also requires that U.S. AIDS relief programs abroad be tied to abstinence programs with at least 33 percent of prevention dollars required to be spend the programs.

The policy has resulted in criticism by international human rights groups since they do not target gays or sex workers.

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