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A Vital Part of Changing Young Lives
This is the summary of a WAITS Abstinence Training session by Gary Brown of Education Connection. Gary is a Risk Elimination educator in Georgia.
Generally, 80-87% of the students of any given student class are movable and open to listen to a presentation about abstinence & chastity. About 13% of the students are not favorable. They may be “nice”, but they don’t agree with abstinence and will become, or remain, sexually active.
Character, Morals, and Values
Abstinence needs to be added to the list of character traits taught to our children: “Character is who we are when no one else is looking.”
“No IV drugs, no sex till marriage – AIDS would be wiped out in one generation.” Gaylan Cole, M.D. [CDC epidemiologist] & George Smith, M.D.
It costs about $30,000 – $50,000 per year for medication for one AIDS patient. We need to get the message to kids that it’s very simple to avoid AIDS!
AIDS is acquired – stay away from sexual activity –> avoid the risk –> avoid the disease…
Teen Sex Scene
The average male sex partner is an adult, more than 3 years older than the girl. Actually, 70% of all teen pregnancies nationwide are fathered by men 20 years of age or older.
In 1958, 86% of teens who gave birth were married. Around 1998, 71% of teens giving birth were unmarried.
“Oral Sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, mutual masturbation – it’s all sex. STDs are often passed by skin to skin contact.” [CDC, 3/98]
Compared to virgin girls, Girls who are Sexually Active are…
5 times more likely to be suspended
6 times more likely to attempt suicide
Only 30% of all girls who get pregnant before they turn 18 will earn their high school diploma by the time they turn 30 years old.
1/3 of all students graduate from high school with STDs [Sexual Health Update, Medical Institute]
Teens compose 10% of the US population; but are infected with 25% of all STDs.
Contributing Factors for Teens Getting STDs:
The AGE at the First Sexual Experience
The NUMBER of sexual partners
The FREQUENCY of sexual activity
[Gaylan Cole, M.D. [CDC epidemiologist]
The age group with the highest rate of AIDS is the 25-44 year old age group. It takes about 10-15 years to develop the symptoms of full-blown AIDS after becoming infected with HIV. Young people don’t get tested because they don’t notice any symptoms. Many of these 25-44 year-olds were infected as 13-21 year olds…
An average of 2 young people are infected with HIV every hour of every day…
Certainly, some people have become infected with HIV through blood transfusions; some children have been infected through their mother; the cause of about 4-6% of all AIDS infections is “unknown”.
HOWEVER – the VAST MAJORITY OF AIDS CASES are caused by IV DRUGS, by SEXUAL ACTIVITY (genital, oral, anal), and now from unsanitary body piercing.
AGAIN – if people are NOT using IV drugs (or unsanitary body piercing) & NOT having sexual activity outside marriage, but are ABSTAINING from these risky behaviors, they will NOT HAVE TO WORRY about acquiring AIDS!!
Reaching Teens – Teen Perception
of their Risk of Contracting an STD
Among 15-17 year olds, 70% believe they are “not at much” or “not at any risk” of contracting STDs.
Teen Perception of their Risk of Getting Pregnant
In 1998, using Alabama as an example, 422 Alabama teens aged 10-14 became pregnant; 5,525 teens aged 15-17 became pregnant. [ADPH Vital Stats] Obviously, the vast majority of these girls did not think they would get pregnant.
We must work very hard to reach our teens with the reality of STDs.
Dr. Stan Weed notes there are 5 variables for Beginning Sexual Activity, changing from a virgin to a non-virgin, in order of importance:
1. teen’s value system
2. social system
p; 3. related risk behaviors (sex, drugs, smoking, etc)
4. personality variables
5. information system
The information system – knowledge (sex, anatomy, sex education, etc.) is the least likely to effect the change.
Three Conclusions are drawn:
1. The information system is the least likely to effect change
2. Behavior is changed, not by information, but by beliefs “You only really believe that which motivates you to action.” Teens will move toward abstinence/chastity – or toward sexual activity – based on their own value system, their family’s values & traditions, and the values of their friends & those with whom they associate
3. The Value System of the teens – what they believe – is most important
Abstinence Teacher Traits
What do you do about kids who are “going to have sex anyway”?
That’s the wrong question because it is based on the assumption that abstinence isn’t for everyone.
The Right Question is: What do we do with kids who don’t listen to us?
[Gary Brown, Education Connection; Risk Elimination educator in GA; WAITS Abstinence Presentation, 12 April 2000]