Nonetheless, support for abstinence education programs continues. A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute noted that although 37 states require abstinence information be provided 25 that it be stressed , only 33 and 18 require HIV and contraceptive information, respectively [ 1 ]. These programs may be on the chopping block as social conservatives in Congress seek to redirect federal dollars back into harmful programs focused exclusively on promoting abstinence. The current landscape of federal sex education programs is detailed in Table 2 and includes newer programs such as Personal Responsibility Education Program PREP , the first federal funding stream to provide grants to states in support of evidence-based sex education that teach about both abstinence and contraception.
Abstinence and abstinence-only education: Comprehensive programs also usually include information about healthy relationships, communication skills, and human development, among other topics. While teens who participated in these programs could identify types of STIs at slightly higher rates than those who did not, program youth were less likely to correctly report that condoms are effective at preventing STIs. Moreover, the primary goal of these policies is not to support adolescents to have healthy relationships and lead healthy lives; instead, they were designed to achieve specific outcomes: Congress and the Trump administration are facing a significant choice: In , a nine-year congressionally mandated study that followed four of the programs during the implementation of the Title V AOUM program found that abstinence-only education had no effect on the sexual behavior of youth. Final data for The effectiveness of group-based comprehensive risk-reduction and abstinence education interventions to prevent or reduce the risk of adolescent pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus, and sexually transmitted infections: In addition, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program TPPP was established to more narrowly focus on teen pregnancy prevention, providing grants to replicate evidence-based program models, as well as funding for implementation and rigorous evaluation of new and innovative models. Such programs have also been found to reinforce gender stereotypes and exclude or stigmatize individuals on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Conceptualization, clarification and challenges. States that accept Title V grant money must match every four federal dollars with three state dollars, and they distribute these funds through health departments to schools and community organizations. Paradoxically, the declines in formal sex education from to have coincided with sizeable declines in adolescent birth rates and improved rates of contraceptive method use in the United States from to [ 20 , 21 ]. Sex and HIV Education. Research, program, and policy efforts are urgently needed to identify effective ways to harness media within classroom, clinic, family household, and community contexts to reach the range of key stakeholders [ 13 , 14 , 22 — 24 ]. At the state and local program level, models of sex education that are grounded in a broader interdisciplinary body of evidence are warranted [ 4 , 11 — 14 , 27 — 29 ]. Despite the large body of evidence suggesting that abstinence-only programs are ineffective at delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of sexual partners of teens, many states continue to seek funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and mandate an emphasis on abstinence when sex education is taught in school. Since then, abstinence education curricula have evolved and federal financial support has fluctuated with each administration, peaking in at the end of the Bush Administration and then dropping significantly under the Obama administration. At this critical juncture, how our country chooses to spend federal dollars will speak volumes about our priorities as a nation. Percent of Schools in Which Teachers Taught Specific Topics as Part of Required Instruction Conclusion The Trump administration continues to shift the focus towards abstinence-only education, revamping the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and increasing federal funding for sexual risk avoidance programs. National Center for Health Statistics; Federally funded programs play a key role in guiding the standards and curricula developed and funded at the state and local levels—fundamentally shaping the definition and scope of sex education nationwide. Who supports comprehensive sexuality education? Ehrlich G, Pitting abstinence vs. They would also provide information about the importance of abstinence and contraceptive use for the prevention of unintended pregnancy, HIV and other STIs. More often, states enact laws that dictate the type of information included in sex education if it is taught, leaving up to school districts, and sometimes the individual school, whether to require sex education and which curriculum to use.
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