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“Just Say No” Not Enough for WV Teens

November 9, 2007

Charleston, WV – Abstinence education alone doesn't make a difference for teens, according to a new report. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy finds the most successful sex-ed programs include more than just information about abstinence. Safe-sex report author Douglas Kirby says the good news is, there are effective methods to help teens postpone sex and reduce risky behaviors.

"The programs that had the best levels of success were comprehensive sex education programs that emphasize abstinence as the best approach, but also do encourage condom and contraceptive use for young people who do have sex."

Kirby says the report also weighs in on emergency contraception, which has limited availability in some areas of West Virginia.

"When clinics make emergency contraception available, not just available but give it to young women in advance, those young women are then more likely to use emergency contraception, but not more likely to have sex."

He says the report also found that parent-training programs can be effective, as can interactive video education for teens.

Congress is considering spending more than $100 million on "abstinence only" programs. Opponents of sex education that includes information on pregnancy prevention say it encourages sexual activity. Kirby says the new report found that isn't the case.

Rob Ferrett/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - WV