The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) published a report Tuesday on abstinence-only-before-marriage program funds in Kentucky. The report reveals that Kentucky received over $3 million in federal funding last year, but that the state continues to have high rates of teen pregnancy and HIV prevalence among African Americans.
Kentucky allocated the funding between local health departments and crisis pregnancy centers. Eleven of the 16 health departments use fear- and shame-based curricula, according to the report. SIECUS reports that the birth rate in Kentucky is almost 20 percent over the national average of 41.1 per 1,000 pregnancies. From 2005 to 2006, the teen birthrate in Kentucky rose 3.6 percent above the national average.
Kentucky has a statistically low prevalence of HIV compared to other states. However, the prevalence of HIV among African-Americans in Kentucky is staggering. African-Americans comprise 7 percent of the Kentucky population yet make up 34 percent of the new cases of HIV each year, according to a SIECUS report.
According to RHRealityCheck, Southern states receive over half of all monies appropriated to abstinence-only-before-marriage programs. In fiscal year 2007 Southern states received approximately $85 million for these programs.
SIECUS Vice President for Public Policy William Smith voiced his discontent with these policies, “It is time for Kentucky to join many other states in refusing this failed experiment of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. As long as funds are going to these programs that place ideology over what the evidence says works, young people and other underserved groups in Kentucky are going to continue to suffer,” according to a SIECUS press release.