Friday, August 03, 2007

No HIV Risk Reduction For Abstinence-Only Programs

In an effort to examine the effectiveness of abstinence-only programs as a means of preventing HIV infection researchers analyzed 13 trials.

The findings:

Compared with no program, safer sex programs, and various other control programs, the abstinence-only programs did not seem to reduce HIV risk. Specifically, abstinence-only programs did not influence the rate of unprotected vaginal sex, the number of sexual partners, condom use, or initiation of sexual activity.

In one trial, there was evidence that abstinence-only programs may have had an adverse effect. Compared with a comparison group of young people who did not participate in an HIV prevention program, abstinence-only programs were associated with a rise in sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Still, the authors note that other trials did not show a significant link between abstinence-only programs and these outcomes.

In another trial, there was a suggestion that abstinence-only programs may reduce levels of vaginal sex, but the follow-up period was relatively short.

"In contrast to abstinence only programs, programs that promote the use of condoms greatly reduce the risk of acquiring HIV, especially when such programs are culturally tailored behavioral interventions targeting people at highest risk of HIV infection," Dr. Stephen E. Hawes, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues note in a relate editorial.

In related news, if you google "texas board of education" my post on the pronouncements of Don McLeroy, the president of the Texas State Board of Education, is right under the links to the official sites. Good! Maybe Mr. McLeroy manages to read it by mistake and takes a moment to reflect on his position that access to information doesn't help solve problems.



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