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"Abstinence Only" Funding May Rise

June 6, 2001

Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson said Tuesday that the administration may seek additional funds for "abstinence only" sex education programs. Interviewed at a forum -- "US AIDS Policy: Entering the Third Decade" -- sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Ford Foundation, Thompson offered no details of the proposal. Aides said, however, that Thompson may ask Congress to boost funding for programs that prohibit participating schools from advising teens who do not choose abstinence on ways to protect themselves from pregnancy, AIDS and STDs.

Most public health experts oppose abstinence programs. "There are no scientific studies supporting abstinence-only education as an effective prevention tool," said Terje Anderson, executive director of the National Association of People with AIDS. "Young people need realistic information about how to protect themselves."

Thompson said that the current administration has no plans to change the policy, put in place by the Clinton administration, that bars federal funding for needle exchange programs. Numerous studies have show that needle exchange programs prevent the spread of AIDS without encouraging drug use.

Thompson said, "Make no mistake, this administration is making substantial financial investments in the battle against AIDS." But he made no mention of the administration's decision not to ask Congress to increase funding for the Ryan White AIDS Care Act, which helps poor people obtain treatment. The funding has been increased by 15 percent each year for the last eight years.

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Adapted from:
USA Today
06.06.01; Steve Sternberg



  
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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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