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Report: Abstinence and Information – it Takes Both for VA Teens

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 By Deborah Smith/John Robinson, Contact
November 8, 2007

Richmond, VA – Just saying "no" is not enough –- at least, not when it comes to sex education for Virginia teens. A new study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy includes both good news and bad for adults concerned about what, and how, the teens in their lives are learning about sex.

The good news, says Campaign spokesman Bill Albert, is that comprehensive programs that cover the biology and science of reproduction, along with an abstinence message, are successful in changing teen behavior. And the alternative?

"The not-so-good-news is that we don't have any evidence that abstinence-only interventions are effective. This country's making an enormous financial investment in these types of programs."

In fact, Congress is considering spending more than $100 million on "abstinence only" programs, and opponents of sex education that includes information about pregnancy prevention and "safe sex" say these topics encourage teen sexual activity. Albert says their study found that is not the case, and that the most successful sex education programs for teens are forged through solid partnerships.

"There's a role for parents to play here, there's a role for the local business community to play, and there's a role for the education community to play."

The full study is available online, at www.teenpregnancy.org.

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