Religion-free abstinence-only sex-ed may forestall sexual initiation

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Originally reported by the New York Times, a new study of over six hundred 12-year-old, at-risk students, found that religion-free abstinence-only sex-ed programs may delay students' initiation into sex.

In this research, led by Dr. John B. Jemmott III of the University of Pennsylvania, only about a third of participants in a weekend abstinence-only course started having sex within the following two years, compared to half of those randomly assigned to general health classes and  safe-sex only courses. About 42% of those assigned to comprehensive sex-ed classes had sex within two years. The study also discovered that none of the programs influenced rates of unprotected sex.

In this study, students at an urban middle schools were paid $20 a session to attend the classes and complete follow-up evaluation sessions. Only African-Americans students were examined as they've been shown to have sex at a younger average ages than other groups.

Unlike the current federally funded abstinence programs, this course didn't tell teens they should wait until marriage to have sex. Also, only medically accurate information was included, and the program didn't portray sex negatively or claim that condoms are ineffective.

While the study needs to be expanded and retested, this research surfaces as Obama plans to eliminate federal financing for abstinence-only programs in favor of proven methods.

Read more at nytimes.com

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