Magazine article USA TODAY

Sex Ed Programs Actually Can Work

Magazine article USA TODAY

Sex Ed Programs Actually Can Work

Article excerpt

A growing number of sex education programs that support abstinence and the use of contraception for sexually active teens have shown positive effects in delaying first intercourse, improving contraceptive use, and preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, according to a report released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Washington, D.C. Other interventions--several that mention sex little or not at all--also have shown effective results.

Two-thirds of sex education programs examined in the report that focus on abstinence and contraception had a positive effect on teen sexual behavior. For example, they delayed the initiation of sex, improved contraceptive use, or did both. Despite the concerns of many adults, none of the programs that discussed abstinence and contraception hastened the initiation of sex or increased the frequency of sex among teens.

The report also notes that, at present, there is no strong evidence that programs that stress abstinence as the only acceptable behavior for unmarried teens delay the initiation of sex, hasten the return to abstinence, or reduce the number of sexual partners.

Other results from the report include:

* Teen girls and young women who receive emergency contraception from clinics in advance of having sex are not more likely to have sex and are more likely to use emergency contraception if they do have sex than those who do not receive emergency contraception in advance. …

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