Navigation Links
Accuracy, efficacy and ethics of abstinence-only programs questioned by public health experts
Date:9/16/2008

September 16, 2008 Studies published in a special issue of the online journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy by the University of California Press reveal that abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education programs fail to change sexual behavior in teenagers, provide inaccurate information about condoms, and violate human rights principles. Edited by John S. Santelli, MD, MPH, professor and chair of the Heilbrunn Department of Family and Population Health and Leslie M. Kantor, MPH, assistant professor of clinical Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, the theme issue examines scientific and ethical implications of federal abstinence-only policies and programs. To access the articles in this issue: http://caliber.ucpress.net/toc/srsp/5/3

In sum, the articles show that abstinence-only programs contain medical inaccuracies, fail to help young people to change behavior, and conflict with ethical standards. Abstinence-only programs violate young people's right to accurate informationand also teachers' and health educators' rights to answer questions and provide medically accurate information. Many states have now refused to participate in the federal program (25 states as of August 2008) citing concerns about efficacy and accuracy of abstinence-only programs. The federal program provides funding for abstinence-only education and restricts information about contraception and other aspects of human sexuality.

"Abstinence-only programs have a broad variety of problems with accuracy, efficacy, and ethics," Dr. Santelli. "These studies clearly demonstrate that federal promotion of abstinence has failed in its primary goal of helping young people delay initiation of sex, and actually, withholds life-saving information from young people."

"Many states are rejecting abstinence-only funding often over concerns about medical accuracy and program efficacy," says Professor Kantor. "States are now lining up with the vast majority of parents and health professionals who support comprehensive health education."

"U.S. government's policies are out of step with the realities of young peoples' lives." observes Dr. Santelli. "Historical trends toward earlier sex and later marriage in the 20th Century are incongruent with abstinence-until-marriage policies and programs."

Individual Studies

Douglas Kirby assessed the impact of 56 programs on adolescent sexual behavior, comparing abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education programs. He found that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. In contrast, about two thirds of comprehensive programs showed strong evidence that they positively affected young people's sexual behavior, including both delaying initiation of sex and increasing condom and contraceptive use among youth.

Alison Lin and John Santelli found that three commonly used, abstinence-only curricula often provide inaccurate medical information to adolescents, including false or misleading statements about the effectiveness and safety of condoms, and inflate the actual failure rate of condoms, suggesting that using condoms is somewhat like playing "Russian roulette" with HIV. Study results are consistent with earlier reviews that found medical inaccuracies throughout a wide sample of abstinence-only program curricula.

Marissa Raymond and colleagues explore the reasons that many states have rejected federal abstinence-only funds. Refusal states generally cite concerns about the efficacy and accuracy of abstinence-only curricula. Those states also tend to have progressive governments and strong advocates for comprehensive sexuality education. As of August 2008, 25 states had opted out of Title V funding including Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Ali Miller and Rebecca Schleifer describe investigations by Human Rights Watch both in Texas and Uganda that abstinence-only programs violate key human rights principles. The article illustrates how international human rights principles and human rights tools can be used strategically by policy advocates and health programmers concerned about abstinence-only programs. Human rights violations include withholding accurate information about prevention of HIV and sexually transmitted diseases and using discriminatory language about gay men and lesbians in abstinence-only programs. Abstinence-only education violates young people's rightsto information, to education, and to health.

Leslie Kantor, John Santelli, Julien Teitler and Randall Balmer provide an overview of abstinence-only policies and programs that includes a history of the growth in U.S. support for abstinence-only programs. These programs have their origin in particular religious viewpoints which are often at odds with mainstream public thinking. The article also illustrates key demographic trends, the effects of virginity pledges, and the ways that abstinence-only programs are out of step with key human rights principles.

A related article "Medical Accuracy in Sexuality Education: Ideology and the Scientific Process" has been published by Dr. Santelli in the American Journal of Public Health (October 2008, vol 98, no 10) and examines the criteria for determining scientific accuracy and the ways that abstinence-only programs overlook established medical facts.

To access this article: http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/98/10/1786?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&author1=santelli&andorexactfulltext=and&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&sortspec=relevance&resourcetype=HWCIT


'/>"/>

Contact: Stephanie Berger
sb2247@columbia.edu
212-305-4372
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Head-to-Head 96-Week Study Shows EPZICOM(R) is Comparable to Truvada(R) in Efficacy and Safety Measures in HIV Treatment-Naive Patients
2. Overcoming inhibitors of cell death improves cancer therapy efficacy
3. New Long-Term HUMIRA(R) (adalimumab) Data Show Up to Seven-Year Efficacy with Combination Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
4. A Drug With Efficacy Superior to That of Remicade at Inducing Closure and Healing of Fistulas Would Earn a 30 Percent Patient Share in the Crohns Disease Drug Market
5. USC researchers identify genetic markers that predict efficacy of novel cancer drug
6. Ohio State University Medical Center to Test Efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Medicine on Stroke Victims
7. Pilot Study to Assess Safety and Efficacy of Medidur(TM) FA in AMD Patients Treated With Lucentis(R)
8. Shire investigational nonstimulant INTUNIV showed significant efficacy in reducing ADHD symptoms
9. Efficacy of FluMist(R) in Children Highlighted at Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting
10. Labopharm Appeals FDAs Decision on Once-Daily Tramadol to Next Supervisory Level After Additional Analysis Supports Efficacy
11. Gamma Secretase Modulators Show Promise in Alzheimers Disease Animal Model Efficacy Studies, According to Research Conducted by TorreyPines Therapeutics
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... The ... OSHA Training Institute Education Center headquartered in Northern California, has issued an important ... heat at their worksites. Employers with workers exposed to high temperatures should ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... , ... "FCPX editors can now reveal their media with growing colorful split ... Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Color brings the split ... now reveal the media of their split screens with growing colorful panels. , ProSlice ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... TherapySites, the ... affiliation with Tennessee Counseling Association. This new relationship allows TherapySites to ... Counseling Association, adding exclusive benefits and promotional offers. , "TCA is extremely excited ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader providing predictive analytics to ... technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers with ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... Brooklyn, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... is using cutting edge technology to revolutionize the emergency ambulance transport experience for ... Many are aware of how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry through the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... 2016 One of Australia,s successful ... of a new biotechnology company, Noxopharm Limited [ABN 50 608 966 ... and to list on the ASX. Noxopharm is a ... enter a Phase 1 clinical study later this year. ... of the biggest problems facing cancer patients - the ability of ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... DUBLIN , June 27, 2016 Jazz ... the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act ... proposed acquisition of Celator Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: ... 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). As previously ... entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Jazz ...
(Date:6/26/2016)...  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ( www.vmsrehabsystemsinc.com ) reported ... required to build a strong and stable market for ... on the OTC Markets-pink current trading platform. ... are seeing an anomaly in market trading activities that ... the Company, but shareholders and market players as well. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: