The Truth about Sexual Behavior and Unplanned Pregnancy

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  1. Truth about Sexual Behavior and Unplanned Pregnancy
  2. Abstinence Education Programs: Definition, Funding, and Impact on Teen Sexual Behavior
  3. Truth about Sexual Behavior and Unplanned Pregnancy by Elissa Howard-Barr
  4. What are you looking for?

Sex and HIV Education.

Truth about Sexual Behavior and Unplanned Pregnancy

State Laws and Policies, as of May 1, Fact sheet examines abstinence education programs, funding and impact on teen sexual behavior. There are two main approaches towards sex education: abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education Table 1. These categories are broad, and the content, methods, and targeted populations can vary widely between programs within each model. They generally do not discuss contraceptive methods or condoms unless to emphasize their failure rates. Comprehensive sex education is more diversely defined.

Most generally, these programs include medically accurate, evidence-based information about both contraception and abstinence, as well as condoms to prevent STI transmission. Other programs emphasize safe-sex practices and often include information about healthy relationships and lifestyles. The type of sex education model used can vary by school district, and even by school. Some states have enacted laws that offer broad guidelines around sex education, though most have no requirement that sex education be taught at all.

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Only 24 states and DC require that sex education be taught in schools Text Box 1. More often, states enact laws that dictate the type of information included in sex education if it is taught, leaving up to school districts, and sometimes the individual school, whether to require sex education and which curriculum to use. Since then, abstinence education curricula have evolved and federal financial support has fluctuated with each administration, peaking in at the end of the Bush Administration and then dropping significantly under the Obama administration.

While these programs have since been eliminated and replaced by other sex education funding streams, the Title V AOUM program remains the largest source of federal funding for abstinence education today. While not all eight points must be emphasized equally, AOUM programs cannot violate the intent of the A-H definition and may not discuss safer-sex practices or contraception except to emphasize their failure rates. States that accept Title V grant money must match every four federal dollars with three state dollars, and they distribute these funds through health departments to schools and community organizations.

Every state, except California, has received funding from this program at some point, and currently half of states do. Under the Obama Administration, there was a notable shift in abstinence education funding toward more evidence-based sex education initiatives. The current landscape of federal sex education programs is detailed in Table 2 and includes newer programs such as Personal Responsibility Education Program PREP , the first federal funding stream to provide grants to states in support of evidence-based sex education that teach about both abstinence and contraception.

Abstinence Education Programs: Definition, Funding, and Impact on Teen Sexual Behavior

In addition, the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program TPPP was established to more narrowly focus on teen pregnancy prevention, providing grants to replicate evidence-based program models, as well as funding for implementation and rigorous evaluation of new and innovative models. Nonetheless, support for abstinence education programs continues.

Nine organizations sued in Washington, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, arguing that their grants were wrongfully terminated. Federal judges in each of the four lawsuits ruled in favor of the organizations, allowing the programs to continue until the end of their grant cycle in At the same time, the Trump Administration announced the availability of new funding for the TPP program with updated guidelines. These new rules require grantees to replicate one of two abstinence programs—one that follows a sexual risk avoidance model, and one that follows a sexual risk reduction model— in order to receive funding.

This marks a sharp departure from the rules under the Obama administration, which allowed grantees to choose from a list of 44 evidence-supported programs that vary by approach, target population, setting, length, and intended outcomes. Decisions about contraception happen within relationships. More than one-half of young people Teaching young people about contraception does not encourage them have sex. Research is clear on this point; sex education does not increase sexual activity.

In fact, in some cases, teaching young people about contraception seems to delay their sexual activity.


Teaching young people the facts about contraception is not necessarily inconsistent with a strong abstinence message Hutchins, Access to contraception is necessary but not sufficient. Restricting sexually active young people from having access to contraception would be a mistake, but simply making contraception methods available to young people is not enough to motivate them to protect themselves. Research suggests that making contraceptives available to young people in schools does not increase their sexual activity, but it also does not seem to markedly increase sexually active young people's use of contraception either Hutchins, Top of page One of the most significant reasons for not using contraception is that young people are much more likely to have unplanned and unprotected sex when they are intoxicated after using alcohol or drugs.

The younger the person, the less likely he or she will be to use contraception or to use it effectively Moore et al. Of particular concern is that while sexual activity is down or has levelled off among most young people, it has risen slightly among those younger than 15, the group least likely to use contraception Hutchins, Comments will be used to improve web content and will not be responded to.

Truth about Sexual Behavior and Unplanned Pregnancy by Elissa Howard-Barr

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Table of contents Section A. Section B. Topic 2: Reflection on youth. Topic 3: Transition from childhood to adulthood. Topic 4: Social construct model. There is, however, considerable evidence that comprehensive sex education programs can be effective in delaying sexual initiation among teens, and increasing use of contraceptives, including condoms. The Trump administration continues to shift the focus towards abstinence-only education, revamping the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and increasing federal funding for sexual risk avoidance programs.

Despite the large body of evidence suggesting that abstinence-only programs are ineffective at delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of sexual partners of teens, many states continue to seek funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and mandate an emphasis on abstinence when sex education is taught in school. There will likely be continued debate about the effectiveness of these programs and ongoing attention to the level of federal investment in sex education programs that prioritize abstinence-only approaches over those that are more comprehensive and based on medical information.

The Consolidated Appropriation Act, November 3, Heritage Foundation Mathematica Policy Research Santelli JS, et al. Guttmacher Institute.

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Policies and Programs and Their Impact. Journal of Adolescent Health, 61 e Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs fact sheet. Hauser, D. Advocates for Youth.

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Stanger-Hall, K. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. Stein R. Abstinence-only programs might work, study says. Washington Post. The Journal of adolescent health. Kirby, D. Sex Res Soc Policy 5: S Denford et al.

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Health Psychol Rev 11 1 , Chin, Helen B. Usually excludes any information about the effectiveness of contraception or condoms to prevent unintended pregnancy and STIs.