Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S

Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S

Only about half of the girls in the study acknowledged having sex. In 1960 there were two common STDs; by the beginning of the twenty-first century, there were more than twenty-five. She said a number of different factors contribute to the problem, including a lack of access to care and screening for the most affected populations, staff shortages in the state’s STD prevention program and level funding for the program over the last few years. I Wanna Know! The best way to prevent pregnancy is to practice abstinence. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates. Read on for more information about teens and STDs.

These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. Previous studies regarding individual infections or incidence among certain populations have found similar rates, although this one is the first population-based study to examine the overall combined prevalence of several common STDs. Along with this is the experience of sexual compulsivity, which is the repetitive sexual behavior attempted to achieve a desired psychological state that results in negative consequences for the sexually addicted teen. Implementing HIV/STD prevention programs and curricula that are medically accurate, have evidence of effectiveness, and teach critical knowledge and skills to prevent infection. However, the most recent 5 years of data (2010-2014) indicate that the diagnoses among black and white gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 have stabilized and the increase has slowed to 16% among Hispanic/Latinos. During 2009–2010, the rate of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis among Hispanics increased 9.5% (from 4.2 to 4.6 cases per 100,000 population). CDC supports recommendations from the U.S.

American Indians/Alaska Natives—In 2011, the chlamydia rate among American Indians/Alaska Natives was 648.3 cases per 100,000 population, an increase of 7.7% from the 2010 rate of 602.0 cases per 100,000. Much of this debate has centered on whether abstinence-only versus comprehensive sex education should be taught in public schools. Some argue that sex education that covers safe sexual practices, such as condom use, sends a mixed message to students and promotes sexual activity. At one such university, there were 7,800 students currently enrolled who were registered at the health department as having HSV. Among the presenters at the STD Prevention conference was a poster on “I Want the Kit,” a program through a Johns Hopkins University research lab that allows residents of Alaska, Maryland, and the District of Columbia to take a risk assessment online and then order an STD testing kit. 15- to 19-Year Old Men—In 2013, the gonorrhea rate among men aged 15–19 years was 220.9 cases per 100,000 males (Figure 16, Table 21). During 2013–2014, the gonorrhea rate for men in this age group decreased 0.9%.

Instead, a “Labor-Health and Human Services, Education and Other Agencies” appropriations bill including a total of $114 million for a new evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative for FY 2010 was signed into law in December 2009. This constitutes the first large-scale federal investment dedicated to preventing teen pregnancy through research- and evidence-based efforts. Additionally, when alcohol is involved in sexual assault, victims are less likely to consider the experience ‘rape’, according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois. This was authorized by the legislature on March 23, 2010 [9]. With two types of federal funding programs available, legislators of individual states now have the opportunity to decide which type of sex education (and which funding option) to choose for their state, while pursuing the ultimate goal of reducing teen pregnancy rates. This large-scale analysis aims to provide scientific evidence for this decision by evaluating the most recent data on the effectiveness of different sex education programs with regard to preventing teen pregnancy for the U.S. Less likely to have children out-of-wedlock; Less likely to experience teen pregnancy; Less likely to give birth as teens or young adults; Less likely to have sex before age 18; and, Less likely to engage in non-marital sex as young adults.

We used the most recent teenage pregnancy, abortion and birth data from all U.S. The differences in emotional health between sexually active and inactive teens are clear. teen pregnancy rates?” If abstinence education results in teenagers being abstinent, teenage pregnancy and birth rates should be lower in those states that emphasize abstinence more. Other factors may also influence teenage pregnancy and birth rates, including socio-economic status, education, cultural influences [10]–[12], and access to contraception through Medicaid waivers [13]–[15] and such effects must be parsed out statistically to examine the relationship between sex education and teen pregnancy and birth rates. It was the goal of this study to evaluate the current sex-education approach in the U.S., and to identify the most effective educational approach to reduce the high U.S. If you have any other questions, call us! Based on a national analysis of all available state data, our results clearly show that abstinence-only education does not reduce and likely increases teen pregnancy rates.

Abstinence-Only Education and Teen Pregnancy Rates: Why We Need Comprehensive Sex Education in the U.S
Comprehensive sex and/or STD education that includes abstinence as a desired behavior was correlated with the lowest teen pregnancy rates across states. I have been having sex education since I was in primary school. Since many teens say that they would have sex – even without protection – many feel that making sure that kids have adequate education and access to protection is a high priority. Of the 50 U.S. states, only 38 states had sex education laws (as of 2007; Table 2). Thirty of the 38 state laws contained abstinence education provisions, 8 states did not. Following the analysis of the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center [17], which categorizes the data on abstinence education into four levels (from least to most emphasis on abstinence: no provision, abstinence covered, abstinence promoted, abstinence stressed), we assigned ordinal values from 0 through 3 to each of these four categories respectively.

A higher category value indicates more emphasis on abstinence with level 3 stressing abstinence only until marriage as the fundamental teaching standard (similar to the federal definition of abstinence-only education), if sex or HIV/STD education is taught (sex education is not required in most states) [16]–[18]. The primary emphasis of a level 2 provision is to promote abstinence in school-aged teens if sex education or HIV/STD education is taught, but discussion of contraception is not prohibited. Level 1 covers abstinence for school-aged teens as part of a comprehensive sex or HIV/STD education curriculum, which should include medically accurate information on contraception and protection from HIV/STDs [16]–[18]. Level 0 laws on sex education and/or HIV education do not specifically mention abstinence. States without sex education laws may nevertheless have policies regarding sex and/or HIV/STD education. These policies may be published as Health Education standards or Public Education codes [19]. These policies can also provide information on how existing sex education laws may be interpreted by local school boards.

Information on the sex education laws and policies for all 50 US states was retrieved from the website of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US (SIECUS). We analyzed the 2005 state profiles on sex education laws and policy data for all 50 states [19] following the criteria of the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center [17] to identify the level of abstinence education (Table 2). The coding for the state laws (N = 38) and the coding for both laws and policies (N = 48) was more or less the same for the states represented in both data sets with 6 exceptions (Table 2): the additional information on policies moved two states from a level 0 (abstinence not mentioned) to level 1 (abstinence covered), and four states from a level 2 abstinence provision (abstinence emphasized) to a level 3 (abstinence stressed). And the appropriate public policy response is to expand their access to the information and services they want and need. Analyses of the two data sets gave essentially identical results. In this paper we present the analyses of the more extensive (48 states) law and policy data set. Data on teen pregnancy, birth and abortion rates were retrieved for the 48 states from the most recent national reports, which cover data through 2005 [11], [12].

The data are reported as number of teen pregnancies, teen births or teen abortions per one thousand female teens between 15 and 19 years of age. In general, teen pregnancy rates are calculated based on reported teen birth and abortion rates, along with an estimated miscarriage rate [12]. We used these data to determine whether there is a significant correlation between level of prescribed abstinence education and teen pregnancy and birth rates across states. The expectation is that higher levels of abstinence education will be correlated with higher levels of abstinence behavior and thus lower levels of teen pregnancy. To account for cost-of-living differences across the US, we used the adjusted median household income for 2006 for each state from the Council for Community and Economic Research: C2ER [20]. These data are based on median household income from the Current Population Survey for 2006 from the U.S. Census Bureau [21] and the 2006 cost of living index (COLI).

We determined the proportion of the three major ethnic groups (white, black, Hispanic) in the teen population (15–19 years old) for each state [12], and assessed whether the teen pregnancy, abortion and birth rates across states were correlated with the ethnic composition of the teen population. It is safe to say that Blacks have been disproportionally affected by the HIV pandemic. The rest were supported by grandmothers or other relatives. 11% of females and 11% of males reported having had heterosexual anal sex. Since the increasing role of Medicaid in funding family planning was mainly due to the efforts of 21 states to expand eligibility for family planning for low-income women who otherwise would not qualify for Medicaid, we analyzed whether these Medicaid waivers for family planning services (available in some states but not in others) could bias our results. We determined which states had received permission (as of 2005) from the Federal Medicaid program to extend Medicaid eligibility for family planning services to large numbers of individuals whose incomes are above the state-set levels for Medicaid enrollment [15]. We assessed whether the waivers (access to family planning services) had an effect on our analysis of teen pregnancy and birth rates across states, specifically whether they could bias our analysis with respect to the effects of the different levels of abstinence education.

Using JMP 8 software [23], we tested all variables for normality (Goodness of Fit: Shapiro Wilkes Test; JMP 8.0). Except for teen abortion rates and Hispanic teen population data, all variables were normally distributed. The distribution of the Hispanic teen population across states was not normal: most states had relatively small Hispanic teen populations, and a few states had a relatively large population of Hispanic teens. Teen pregnancy and birth rate distributions included outliers, but these outliers did not cause the distributions within abstinence education levels to differ significantly from normal, thus all outliers were included in subsequent analyses. For all further statistical analyses we used SPSS [24]. We used non-parametric (Spearman) correlations to assess relationships between variables, and for normally distributed variables we also used parametric (Pearson) correlations, but these results showed the same trends and significance levels as the non-parametric correlations. As a result, we only report the results for the non-parametric correlations here.

Only the two normally distributed dependent variables were included in the multivariate analysis (MANOVA and MANCOVA [24]): teen pregnancy and teen birth rates. We tested for homogeneity of error variances (Levene’s Test) and for equality of covariance matrices (Box test) between groups. For MANCOVA we report the estimated marginal means of teen pregnancy and birth rates (i.e. means after the influence of covariates was removed). For pairwise comparison between abstinence levels, we used the Bonferroni adjustment for multiple comparisons.

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