Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Risk of Ignorance – Failure of the Abstinence Education

USA Today reported,yesterday, citing a CDC study, that one out of four teenage girls had STD (sexually transmitted disease):

“The study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan is an analysis of nationally representative data on 838 girls who participated in a 2003-04 government health survey. Teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18% of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4%; trichomoniasis, 2.5%; and herpes simplex virus, 2%…the results are similar to previous studies examining rates of those diseases individually.”

An April 2007 final report titled Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs Final Report, April 2007 by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. concluded that there were no difference in sexual activity or knowledge of STD between teenagers who attended the abstinence education program and teenagers who did not. According to the report, the Federal Title V, Section 510 program had funded $50 million annually, beginning from 1997, to various abstinence programs around the country.

Risk / Reward Results

Risk: Those who engage in pre-marital sex will increase the potential for contracting STD and/or getting their female partners pregnant.

Cost to Mitigate the Risk Through Title V, Section 510 program: $500 million over 10 years from 1997 to 2007.

Reward: No difference in sexual behavior or knowledge of the risks of pre-marital sex, including STD, between the group of teens who attended abstinence program and the group of teens who did not.

So in essence, we the taxpayers are allowing the government to give $50 million annually to various educational programs that has proven to not work.


The American Social Health Association, a non-profit organization formed in1914 to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. In their 2006 annual report, their total governmental support, Federal and State, was $164,342. Altogether, their 2006 revenue was $3.6 million.

It is clearly obvious that Abstinence program isn’t working. While I am not in favor or supporting pre-marital sex, especially among teens, I am in favor of not wasting money. If more than $500 million so far spent over 10 years to educate teens to not have pre-marital sex has not materially changed teen’s habits, then why continue funding a failed program?

Simple True

Teens will be teens. Think back at your own teenage years. Rebelling and trying something new and different were part of our teen years. Teens now are no different than teens hundreds of years ago. I leave you with the following quotes from history:

Little children, headache; big children, heartache (Italian Proverb)

I would there were no age between ten and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the anciently, stealing, fighting. (William Shakespeare)

Ed Kim

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1 comment:

Michael Ejercito said...

At the heart of abstinence-only sex education is a bunch of pathetic losers who are not getting any, so instead of fixing themselves so they can get some, they tell other people how wonderful it is to be a virgin so that they can make themselves feel better.

But at the end of the day, they are still miserable.