May 2005: Abstinence

Teens in Best Friends Abstinence-Only Program Are Less Likely to be Sexually Active Than Their Peers UK Doctors Put Girls Aged 10 on the Pill     TEENS IN BEST FRIENDS ABSTINENCE-ONLY PROGRAM LESS LIKELY TO BE SEXUALLY ACTIVE THAN PEERS Middle-school and high-school girls in Washington, D.C., who participated in the Best Friends Foundation’s abstinence-only education programs are “substantially” less likely to have had sexual intercourse than the average girl of the same age in the district [study published in the spring issue of the Institute for Youth Development’s journal Adolescent & Family Health]. Author Robert Lerner studied data from 2,700 girls in grades 6 – 8, and 800 girls in grades 9 – 12, some of whom were enrolled in the Best Friends program. The researchers compared several years of data on the Best Friends program participants with data collected through CDC’s national Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (YRBS) System in the same area over the same period. The Best Friends program, in its 18th year, uses school-based curricula, fitness classes, mentoring, role models and community service to help girls in 6-8th grades make healthy choices during adolescence — such as abstaining from drugs, alcohol, smoking and premarital sex. A companion program for boys, called Best Men, began in 2000. Best Friends, which recently won a three-year federal abstinence grant, does not teach girls about contraception. Girls in the middle-school Best Friends program were more than 6.5 times less likely to report having had sex than middle-school girls in the CDC study, and  8 times less likely to use drugs – both strong outcomes. The study also found...