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On Anniversary of First AIDS Case, Health Officials Assess Fight

June 6, 2001

US Surgeon General David Satcher said yesterday that he will release a call-to-action report on the nation's sexual health by the end of the month, emphasizing that Americans need to learn more and talk more about sex. Satcher made the announcement in Washington, D.C., on the 20th anniversary of the first AIDS case reports. "This call to action focuses on the need to promote sexual health and responsible sexual behavior throughout the lifespan," Satcher told a gathering of scientists and public health groups. "While sexuality may be difficult for some to discuss we cannot afford the consequences of continuing selective silence."

Although no details of the report were disclosed, Satcher said his staff has been working on the document for more than two years. It will recommend lifelong sex education without specifying the age at which such lessons should begin, according to a staff member, and it will largely avoid polarizing issues. For example, it will probably not endorse either abstinence-only sex education or comprehensive lessons including condom use.

Previous surgeons general said the report is likely to draw attention, even controversy, regardless of its content. "It's got to be done," said Dr. C. Everett Koop, who held the post from 1981 to 1989. "If you talk about something long enough, it ceases to be a problem." Dr. M. Joycelyn Elders, surgeon general in 1993 and 1994, said the nation must speak more openly about sex and condom use. "The vows of abstinence break a lot more easily than latex condoms," she said. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said he learned of the report from Satcher on Monday. "And I said he should go ahead," Thompson said. "Dr. Satcher is a fine person. He's put a lot of study into it."


Back to other CDC news for June 6, 2001

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Dallas Morning News
06.06.01; Charles Ornstein



  
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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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