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Sexuality and STI/HIV Education Varies Greatly by State

A new study released by The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SEICUS) reports that while abstinence-only-until-marriage education varies greatly from state to state, overall funding for it has increased dramatically in the last 15 years. Funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs has increased from $59 million per year in 1998 to $258 million in 2004, reports USA Today. Since 1998, $899 million has been spent on these programs, according to SEICUS. The bulk of this funding is given directly to individual public and private entities, including anti-abortion Ôcrisis pregnancy centers.’ An eight-point definition of abstinence-only-until-marriage education, developed for the administration of these funds, includes, among other requirements, that the expected standard of sexual relationships is “a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage” and that “bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences” for all involved, reports the SIECUS study . In addition, federally funded abstinence-only programs are prohibited from teaching about condoms except in terms of their failure rates. Despite all the money that is currently being spent on abstinence-only-until-marriage education, SIECUS reports that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs have never been proven effective. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teens who pledged to abstain from sex until marriage contracted STIs at the same rate as teens that did not, according to USA Today. The study also found that the rate of condom use was lower among teens who pledged to abstain from sex until marriage. DONATE to the Feminist Majority Foundation and support our work for women’s health

Sources:

USA Today 6/22/04; SIECUS press release 6/22/04; SIECUS report June 2004; Alan Guttmacher Institute: State Policies in Brief 5/1/04

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