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News: “Abstinence Redefined?”

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Abstinence Redefined?
Posted by Bill Bumpas
OneNewsNow – 1/4/2011

A study published this week in the journal Pediatrics says ten percent of teens who said they were abstinent also tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease. But an advocate for abstinence says the sex-education curricula in most schools could be blamed for those numbers.

Of the 964 teens who tested positive for an STD, 118 claimed they had not had sexual intercourse in the last 12 months, and 60 said they had never had intercourse in their lives. The study, based on its findings, recommends that all teens receiving clinical services — regardless if they self-report as being sexually abstinent — be tested for prevalent STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association tells OneNewsNow that 75 percent of young people in America are receiving explicit contraceptive-centered education that defines “abstinence” subjectively. She believes that could be one of the reasons why teens who say they are abstinent have an STD.

“Because in these curricula [teens] are given free rein to define abstinence in any way, including whatever doesn’t cause a pregnancy or however they want to define it,” she explains. “And we know that there are a lot of behaviors that put them at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.”

Huber says the abstinence programs that her organization promotes are very clear about what constitutes safe and unsafe behavior.

“[When we talk about abstinence] we’re talking about avoiding all of the activities that put a young person at risk,” says the abstinence advocate. “So if they receive the skills and the motivation to truly remain abstinent [as an abstinence program defines it], they have absolutely zero-percent chance of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease.”

It is “crazy,” she adds, that some would try to redefine abstinence.


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