Family Research Council
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2008 CONTACT: J.P. Duffy or Maria Donovan, (866) FRC-NEWS

New STD Data Shows Need for Abstinence Education, Says Family Research Council


New STD Data Shows Need for Abstinence Education, Says Family Research Council


Washington - Moira Gaul, M.P.H., Family Research Council's Director of Women's Health declared that the alarming new data released at the CDC's national convention on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) shows the failure of so-called "comprehensive" or contraceptive- and condom-based sex education. "Only a risk-avoidance or sexual abstinence-until-marriage strategy will be effective in helping to reverse the current STD epidemic," said Ms. Gaul.

This week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study indicating that 1 in 4 teen girls, or 3.2 million, are infected with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). In addition, findings from two other studies presented show that of the young women receiving contraceptive services, over half are not receiving appropriate screening, and treatment for STIs.

"Taken altogether these findings represent confirmation of a simmering STD epidemic and tremendous negligence in care for those most at risk for contracting STDs," noted Gaul. "The call for an effective public health prevention strategy could not be more urgent."

"While much of the medical and public health community pays lip service to prevention for our young people, these results continue to provide sad evidence that the focus is on facilitating high-risk behavior rather than true primary and even secondary prevention," Gaul declared. "Abstinence education offers an effective and holistic approach to protect our young people's current and future health by teaching them necessary skills to build healthy relationships and providing accurate medical information concerning risks of sexual behavior."

FRC also called upon policy-making bodies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, to develop and formalize clinical counseling interventions directed toward sexual risk avoidance strategies for adolescents. "Such strategies would mirror, and thus strengthen, the risk avoidance prevention messages presented to adolescents regarding tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and violence," said Gaul. "This risk avoidance message is the best form of primary prevention youth can receive, and it's time for the medical and public health communities to step up to the plate."

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