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Abstinence-Only Classes Reduced Sexual Activity, Study Found
Date:2/1/2010

Younger teens who took the course were more likely to delay having sex,, ,,

MONDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who took abstinence-only sex education classes were more likely to delay having sex, a new study shows.

In the study, some 662 black 6th- and 7th-grade students, ranging in age from 10 to 15 with an average age of 12, participated in classes held on Saturdays at four Philadelphia public schools that draw from primarily lower-income neighborhoods.

Students either took eight hours of abstinence-only classes; eight hours of safe sex-only classes that included information about sexually transmitted diseases and the importance of using condoms if sexually active; or an eight- or 12-hour comprehensive course that covered both abstinence and safer sex.

Another group of students were enrolled in eight hours of a general health class that did not discuss matters related to sexual behavior. That group served as a control for comparison.

Two years after the courses began, with 84.4 percent of the students still enrolled in the program, students in the abstinence-only class were 33 percent less likely to have had sexual intercourse than the controls.

About one-third of students in the abstinence-only class reported they'd ever had sexual intercourse, compared with nearly half of the control group, the study authors noted.

Students who took the abstinence-only classes were also less likely to report having had sex recently, the researchers found. Of those who'd reported ever having had sex, about 21 percent of those in the abstinence group reported having sexual intercourse during the past three months compared to 29 percent in the control group.

The other intervention groups did not show statistically significant differences from the control group, according to the study.

"This study shows an abstinence-only intervention can delay sexual intercourse among y
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