Overall, the groups concluded that AOUMs, which are the only form of sexual and reproductive education in a number of U. Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs leave all young people unprepared and are particularly harmful to young people who are sexually active, who are LGBTQ, or have experienced sexual abuse. The researchers noted that the spread of AOUMs in recent years has created meaningful setbacks to the development and efficacy of HIV prevention, sex education, and family planning programs at home and worldwide. And while numerous studies over the past couple decades have suggested that AOUMs, unlike comprehensive sex education programs, are ineffective, Congress has continued pouring precious funds into the former. It only stands to reason that even those who believe strongly that teens should wait to have sex should prioritize results and evidence over ideology.
Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs
Safe sex vs. abstinence: which is most effective?
Teen sexual health outcomes over the past decade have been mixed. On one hand, teen pregnancy and birth rates have fallen dramatically, reaching record lows. On the other hand, rates of sexually transmitted infections STIs among teens and young adults have been on the rise. Many schools and community groups have adopted programming that incorporates abstinence from sexual activity as an approach to reduce teen pregnancy and STI rates. The content of these programs, however, can vary considerably, from those that stress abstinence as the only option for youth, to those that address abstinence along with medically accurate information about safer sexual practices including the use of contraceptives and condoms.
Skip to content. Everyone has an opinion about sexuality education. From vocal parents at PTA meetings to state governors who must decide whether to apply for federal funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs or more comprehensive sexuality programs, or both, or neither.
Both abstinence and safe-sex philosophical interventions can reduce HIV risk behaviors, but safe-sex education appears to be more effective and longer-lasting with adolescents who have already had sex, according to a new study. The first randomized controlled trial comparing an abstinence intervention with a safer-sex intervention recruited African-American adolescents at three middle schools in low-income communities in Philadelphia. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , found that both approaches to reducing HIV exposure were effective, but that safer-sex interventions curbed unprotected sexual intercourse, while abstinence did not.