Snake oil to stop HIV/AIDS, STDs, PG


Congress members and legislators and state boards of education have held out great promise for the wonders of abstinence only based sex education. They believed that once youth heard the message they will pledge to be virgins until they marry, thus staying clear of STDs and teen pregnancy. And this assumption is about teens who reliable studies show that over half already have sex experiences.

The results have been in with thorough analyses that teens continue to be as sexually active as before, but the decision makers keep saying: keep trying it; it is going to work!

It is time to face the truth: “abstinence-only” is snake oil! It has actually led to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. The American epidemic of teen pregnancies continues to be the highest in the western world – children keep having children! And those decision makers condemn abortions that are the inevitable result of their laws.

Did you read about the epidemic in Lubbock, Texas that was reported nationally and the subject of a PBS POV, "The Education of Shelby Knox?" Many teens there followed this reasoning: we can stay virgins, as we have pledged, and still have sex – orally and anally. And since the “abstinence-only” teaches that condoms don’t work, the teens did not use them! They spread sexually transmitted diseases. And meanwhile most of the girls remained vaginal virgins. Many other parts of our country report similar epidemics.

Meanwhile Western European nations have medically accurate sex education that includes specifically how to best use condoms so they are nearly 100% effective. Sometimes they use bananas to demonstrate how to use them. Among the more important points is that certain lubricants dissolve condoms, while other lubricants do not damage the condom. And here is the Western European result:

  • a fifth the abortions we have in America,
  • less sexually transmitted diseases, and
  • a fifth as many children having children.

But our decision makers insist that the life-saving knowledge about condoms not be taught to our teens, instead they demonize condoms, and teach them to use snake oil to prevent teen pregnancies and STDs.

We need to evaluate any law or policy by whether it is based on facts, evidence, hard data or instead on wishes, beliefs, preferences.

Copyright © 2006 John F. Yeaman