New Harris Poll Shows Young People Believe Abstinence Education Works
Governor’s Abstinence Program Uses Unique Idea to Teach Teens
SADD Chapter of North Dakota to Include Abstinence Education
Study Finds that Sexual Experimentation & Drug Use Precede Teen Depression
30 Year Condom Expert Embraces Abstinence & Fidelity
NEW HARRIS POLL SHOWS YOUNG PEOPLE THINK ABSTINENCE EDUCATION WORKS. For years, Abstinence Clearinghouse and abstinence educators have been saying, Abstinence education works, and have helped teens share the life-saving statement in their own words through programs like Abstinence Day on the Hill and other events. Now, a new Harris Poll effectively demonstrates just how highly young people esteem abstinence education.
According to the poll, as reported this week in the Washington Times, 56 percent of people who are 18-24 years old and 60 percent of young adults age 25 to 29 think abstinence programs effectively reduce or prevent HIV/AIDS.
Nearly 50 percent of people between 18 and 24 and 52 percent of those between 25 and 29 say the programs reduce or prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Yet, there is debate over the merits of abstinence education. Teens and young adults say that abstinence education works, but some adults think they know better than the tried-true message of abstinence education, only abstinence until marriage prevents unplanned pregnancies, STDs, and emotional hurt.
Because abstinence programs are geared for the young, this poll is one that abstinence education groups must promote, and sex education groups will most certainly ignore.
[Washington Times, Youths Support Abstinence as Sex Education, 01/22/06; 25JAN 2006, Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update]
GOVERNORS PROGRAM ON ABSTINENCE USES UNIQUE IDEA TO TEACH ABSTINENCE. Inspiring teens to learn to propose and defend abstinence legislation, the Governors Program on Abstinence in Louisiana is holding mock legislative caucuses this winter where young people propose, argue, and vote on legislation designed to impact abstinence.
At least 57 Governors Program on Abstinence (GPA) Clubs will participate in the caucuses. The Governors Program started in 1996 by Governor Mike Foster. Currently there are at least 312 clubs in the state and more than 40,000 youths have participated in the program.
If the words of attendee Garrett Greene, 19, are an indication of their commitment to health and determination, the future looks bright for these young people:
We can go on about the number of incurable STDs, and how many people have HPV and HIV, which are all very important issues to be discussed, said Greene, a freshman at Louisiana College in Pineville and a member of the GPA.
But when it comes down to it, its how society looks at our generation, which is like a bunch of animals who cant control themselves, Greene said, and you know, that really is a slap in the face to me, because I believe that we make our own choices. [The Advocate, Abstinence Club Members Learn Legislative Ropes, 01/22/06; 25 JAN 2006 Abstinence Clearinghouse E-Mail Update]
SADD CHAPTER OF ND TO INCLUDE ABSTINENCE EDUCATION FIRST IN NATION! Realizing the risky behaviors often go hand in hand, this chapter is transitioning from Students Against Drunk Driving to a focus on Destructive Decisions, including discussions on alcohol, drugs, and premarital sex.
For more info on how your local SADD chapter can expand its positive influence in your area, contact Abstinence Clearinghouse at (605) 335-3643. [Abstinence Clearinghouse Affiliate Report, 01/04/06]
STUDY FINDS SEXUAL EXPERIMENTATION & DRUG USE PRECEDE TEEN DEPRESSION. Many mental health counselors assume students will medicate their depression with sex and drug use.
However, a published study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine finds that depression is actually a risk factor for sexual experimentation on the part of girls, and heavy drug use on the part of boys.
The study, led by Dr. Denise Hallfors, followed more than 13,000 middle and high school students for 2 consecutive years.
Well-known Dr. Warren Throckmorton [psychology prof, Grove City College, PA] says depression may be the new STD, & that discussions of risks associated with teen sexuality need to include more than just STDs and pregnancy.
“Students who are depressed may owe their depression to their risky behavior,” he observes, “which again is just one more reason why students should be warned about their behavior, that it does have consequences.”
Throckmorton also contends that the findings expose some of the adverse effects of condom-based sex education in public schools, and should prompt parents and educators to discourage teen sexual relationships: “Teenagers simply don’t have the financial [or] the emotional resources to handle those kinds of relationships And yet there are many people who are in the Planned Parenthood camp … and [agree with] Advocates for Youth and groups like that who essentially say that sex if fine as long as it’s physically safe. Well, this study should wake everybody up that it isn’t safe.”
While he acknowledges that more research is needed to isolate the causes and cures for the link between experimentation and depression, Throckmorton says “there is no reason for policy makers [i.e. every health-care professional, school counselor, teacher, & parent] to wait to encourage abstinence Whatever we think about the morality of sexual behavior, can’t we agree that teens should be given a clear and consistent message that it is best to wait to engage in sex until they are ready to accept the financial, relationship, and emotional consequences of making that choice?”
For nearly all teens, he adds, that would be adulthood.
[5Dec05, Jim Brown, contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News. http://headlines.agapepress.org/archive/12/afa/52005g.asp]
FORMER CONDOM ADVOCATE EMBRACES ABSTINENCE & FIDELITY. [Harvard Ctr for Population/Devt Studies senior research scientist] Edward Green, who has 30+ years of experience in African, Asian, & Caribbean public health, once advocated the use of condoms and clean needles for the prevention of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Now, after evaluating Ugandas ABC Model of AIDS prevention, Green says promoting the values of fidelity and abstinence is far more effective than just promoting correct condom use.
He has evaluated AIDS prevention efforts in Uganda and was perhaps the first researcher to make Ugandas ABC program known to the rest of the world.
Green: The B [Be faithful behavior] is most important. Most are married and faithful, contrary to Western perception. We think that Africans have wilder and crazier sex than Americans, but they dont.
For youth, the first priority should be to encourage abstinence or delay the start of sexual activity.
Condom adoption is sometimes assumed to be a simpler behavior change to adopt than that of abstinence or faithfulness. Yet condom use, especially correct and consistent condom use, is also a difficult and demanding behavior change.
In his report, he noted, Part of the proof of this observation is the disappointing low levels of consistent condom use after more than 20 years of condom promotion in the developing world. [7Dec05, Baptist Press, Shannon Baker; Green shared his insights during a Rethinking AIDS Prevention portion of the Disturbing Voices HIV/AIDS conference Nov. 29-30 in Southern California. A Primer on the ABC Model of AIDS Prevention, by Edward Green; N Valko RN, 8Dec05]