AUSTIN, TX, Mar 31 ( – A new study released today by The Medical Institute for Sexual Health offers indisputable evidence that the current public health model designed to address teen pregnancy and sexual activity is failing. “Building Healthy Futures: Tools for Helping Adolescents Avoid or Delay the Onset of Sexual Activity” also provides the first comprehensive review of studies evaluating the abstinence education model, finding “programs that exclusively teach abstinence can positively impact sexual behavior.”

The study points out the frightening state of affairs regarding sexually transmitted diseases that has developed during a time when the dominant public health strategy was the promotion of condom and contraceptive use. The Medical Institute has conducted the most comprehensive review of the research literature on abstinence education, using both published and unpublished studies.

Key findings include:
* The most dominant sexuality education of the past two decades has included a “dual message” —“abstinence is best, but if you cannot be abstinent, use contraceptives.” The abstinence education component of some “dual message” programs has been successful at influencing young people to remain abstinent.
* “Exclusive purpose” abstinence education, which does not promote contraceptive use, has become more widespread. While complete results are expected within the next two to three years, evidence suggests that programs which exclusively teach abstinence can positively impact sexual behavior.
* Studies of “exclusive purpose” abstinence programs have documented delay of sexual activity.  One youth development program (Best Friends) and one community program (The School/Community intervention in Denmark, SC) have provided evidence that adolescents will delay the onset of sexual activity and pregnancy rates can be dramatically lowered if the young person’s “world”  consistently supports their choice to remain sexually abstinent.

See the Medical Institute website.


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