Another day, another study showing that abstinence only programs don’t do jack shit:
The main objective of Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs is to teach abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage. The impact results from the four selected programs show no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence. About half of all study youth had remained abstinent at the time of the final follow-up survey, and program and control group youth had similar rates of sexual abstinence. Moreover, the average age at first sexual intercourse and the number of sexual partners were almost identical for program and control youth.
Well, that’s not entirely true. The abstinence only program participants were more likely to know the various STDs, but also were more likely to say that condoms had no impact on preventing them:
Many Title V, Section 510 abstinence education programs focus on the risks of STDs, and the evaluation results show some improvements in knowledge of STDs. Program group
youth correctly identified a significantly higher proportion of STDs than control group youth, and program group youth were significantly more likely than control group youth to report (correctly) that birth control pills are never effective at preventing STDs (including HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea, and herpes and human papillomavirus [HPV]). For both outcomes, My Choice, My Future! is the main source of the differences seen overall.
Program group youth, however, were less likely than control group youth to perceive condoms as effective at preventing STDs. Compared with control group youth, program group youth were less likely to report that condoms are usually effective at preventing HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea, and herpes and HPV. Furthermore, program group youth were more likely than control group youth to report that condoms are never effective at preventing these STDs. As above, My Choice, My Future! is a main source of these overall impacts.
It’s long past time to abandon abstinence only sex education because it doesn’t work. Teaching kids about their “naughty bits” isn’t going to make them any more likely to use them, but if they do at least they’ll have the knowledge of the possible repercussions and methods of protection.