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Texas Doctors Recommend Abstinence as Best Way to Avoid Pregnancy, Disease

May 7, 2001

At the annual meeting of the Texas Medical Association (TMA), doctors agreed that the best way for teenagers to avoid pregnancy and STDs is to abstain from premarital sex. The doctors voted Friday to change the TMA policy to say, "the healthiest and most effective way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in unmarried adolescents is abstinence." The old policy emphasized contraceptive choices.

"We hope this strong statement by the medical community will empower parents," said Dr. John Gill, a Dallas orthopedic surgeon. The policy is meant to guide TMA's public health advocacy efforts, not what individual doctors tell their patients in practice. Gill and two other abstinence resolution sponsors cited a recent CDC study on adolescent sexual behavior as evidence of the need for policy change. The CDC study of more than 15,000 adolescent students found that nearly half had sexual intercourse and about one in six had sex with at least four partners.

Dr. Jan Realini of San Antonio argued that saying abstinence is the "best" preventative behavior might be misinterpreted as "religious or moral stands," and that there is not "scientific evidence" to say it is the "most effective." The TMA policy says many contraceptive methods are suitable for teenagers, though there is "no ideal method that is 100 percent effective, free of side effects, inexpensive and unencumbered by forethought or planning." It calls on doctors to identify adolescents at risk for STDs and unplanned pregnancy.


Back to other CDC news for May 7, 2001

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Adapted from:
Associated Press; 05.05.01



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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