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U.S. News

North Carolina County Board of Health To Recommend School Board Alter Abstinence-Only Sex Education Policy

July 24, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

The Gaston County, N.C., Board of Health on Monday said that it will begin a campaign to lower teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease rates in the county, including opening a discussion with school board members about ways to include information on condoms and birth control in the county's sex education curriculum, the Charlotte Observer reports. Gaston County schools currently teach abstinence-only sex education that does not include information about condoms or birth control. The county's teen pregnancy rate of 76.5 pregnancies per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19 is higher than the North Carolina state average of 69.3 pregnancies per 1,000 teens, according to the Observer. In addition, 641 Gaston County residents have been diagnosed with HIV since February 1986; about 30% of the people were infected during their teen years (Gregory, Charlotte Observer, 7/23).

Students Speak to Health Board
The board of health on Monday heard from five student members of the HIV Education Led By Peers group, who said that abstinence-only education does not do enough to prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs among teens, according to the Associated Press. "These teenagers are having sex whether we tell them about abstinence or not," 17-year-old Angel Putnam, one of the students addressing the board, who became pregnant at age 15, said, adding, "These students need the information to make the individual decision about whether to have sex, to make a wiser decision" (Associated Press, 7/23). School board member Jim Davison said that the county sex education program needs to be "more extensive but age-appropriate," according to the Observer. School board Vice Chair Kevin Collier said that the abstinence-only policy should not be changed because he said that telling students about birth control and condoms could "sen[d] a message that it's OK to have sex," the Observer reports. The health board is not suggesting a specific sex education curriculum to the school board, which would have to recommend and approve any specific changes (Charlotte Observer, 7/23).

Back to other news for July 24, 2003


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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