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U.S. Continues to Lag Behind European Countries in Teen Sexual Health - Cleveland Sex Ed Initiative Takes Promising Science-Based Approach
Date:1/8/2009

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Advocates for Youth, a Washington-based non-profit focusing on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, has released an analysis showing that teen sexual health outcomes in the U.S. lag far behind those in France, Germany, and the Netherlands (http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/factsheet/fsest.pdf).

The U.S. teen birth rate, for example, is nearly nine times higher than that in the Netherlands, and four times higher than that in France and Germany. The U.S. teen abortion rate is twice that of Germany and the Netherlands. America's teen gonorrhea rate is 28 times greater than that in the Netherlands.

The Advocates for Youth study estimates that if the U.S. had a teen birth rate equivalent to that of the Netherlands, the number of U.S. teen pregnancies would be reduced by 617,000 and the first-year savings to taxpayers would be at least $542 million.

One of the key reasons that the U.S. lags behind other developed countries when it comes to teen sexual and reproductive health, is our failure to invest in comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education. Over the last decade, the U.S. government has spent over $1.3 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs which prohibit information about condoms and birth control. In April 2007, a government-financed evaluation determined that abstinence-only programs simply do not work.

While the U.S. government and Congress have been slow to change and invest in programs that do work, local communities are now starting to take the lead.

In Cleveland, Ohio, the local school district in conjunction with other civic, health, and private sector leaders, recently launched a K-12 age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education initiative. On Monday, January 5, 2009, Fr
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SOURCE Advocates for Youth
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