February 2008: STDs and Condoms

Condom Debate "Hijacked" and Drifting from "Evidence Based" Science – The British Medical Journal is running a pair of articles offering two opposed views on the question, "Are condoms the answer to rising rates of non-HIV sexually transmitted infections?" The idea that condoms are the first, last and usually only recommended protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is one of the most widely accepted in the field of public health. But the message of the life and family movement that abstinence before marriage and chaste fidelity within are the only sure means of avoiding STDs is starting to be heard… Drs Markus J Steiner and Willard Cates, of Family Health International, of North Carolina and Dr. Stephen Genuis [associate clinical professor at the University of Alberta] have written on either side of the issue. The former, Drs. Steiner and Cates argue that condoms "can and should play a central role in halting the rising rates of sexually transmitted infection other than HIV". Dr. Stephen Genuis, however, warns that the debate has been "highjacked" by an argument between two "mutually exclusive perspectives on sexual morality" and has moved away from "evidence based" science. On the one hand, Genuis writes, those promoting "safe sex (or safer sex) are accused of corrupting youth with amoral values", while their "opponents are perceived as zealots who disregard scientific fact in imposing their fanaticism on society". The idea that condoms are the first, last and usually only recommended protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is one of the most widely accepted in the field of public health. But the message of the life and family...

November 2007 Briefings on UN Activities

Briefing on UN activities – November 19th to 23rd 2007 UNAIDS: 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update Two main items retained our attention at the UN last week. First, UNAIDS released its report “2007 AIDS epidemic update”. Second, November 20th marked the 18th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which is the guiding document used by UNICEF. UNAIDS: 2007 AIDS Epidemic Update Funding UNAIDS has gathered enormous support over the past decade. Many UN agencies envy the attention it has received and quote it as an example of the momentum and support required to impact any given cause. Funding is crucial for any international endeavor taken on by a UN agency. Funding increases depending on the level of public support and the perceived number of people who would be impacted by a particular project or agency. Reliability of Statistics One would think that international agencies such as UNAIDS have developed a comprehensive process that insures reliable statistics. It seems this was not the case until this year. The opening statement of the report by UNAIDS states that “In 2007, advances in the methodology of estimations of HIV epidemics applied to an expanded range of country data have resulted in substantial changes in estimates of numbers of persons living with HIV worldwide. However the qualitative interpretation of the severity and implications of the pandemic has altered little.” The statement clearly demonstrates that UNAIDS fears its funding will be reduced proportionally to the greatly revised number of people infected. This also diminishes the credibility of reports produced by this UN agency. UNAIDS credits an in depth revision of the...

January 2006: Abstinence / Effects of Sex

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]   GOVERNOR’S PROGRAM ON ABSTINENCE USES UNIQUE IDEA TO TEACH ABSTINENCE....

Teaching Abstinence On A Shoe String Budget

The Medical Institute offers training in Medical Accuracy. Contact the Medical Institute at 512.328.6268 for information.   Project Reality Announces Online Training Project Reality is now offering online courses for the Navigator teacher training curriculum. This curriculum is used in grades 8 through 12. Contact Project Reality to find out about participating in this World Class Training: Project Reality's Florida office 239.659.1095.     "Each year, about three million teenagers contract sexually transmitted diseases that can harm them, or kill them, or prevent them from ever becoming parents," stated President Bush.  "In my budget, I propose a grassroots campaign to help inform families about these medical risks. We will double Federal funding for abstinence programs, so schools can teach this fact of life: Abstinence for young people is the only certain way to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Decisions children make now can affect their health and character for the rest of their lives. All of us – parents, schools, government – must work together to counter the negative influence of the culture, and to send the right messages to our children."  [20Jan03, State of the Union message; Abstinence Clearinghouse] Avoid the Pain………Abstain!! Why Teach Abstinence? As members of a state Advisory Committee of the Abstinence Education Block Grant, we were involved in reading and picking those grant proposals throughout the state which would receive funding. Only about one-third of them were accepted due to funding restraints. What of the other two-thirds? How can we encourage them, and so many other local groups and individuals, to provide abstinence training to their teens even without grant monies? Isn't there something we...