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SIECUS Press Release

National Poll Shows Parents Overwhelmingly Support Comprehensive Sex Education Over Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage by 5 to 1 Margin

SIECUS Launches Parent-Child Communication Initiative

October 1, 2002

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 As a result, parts of this article may be outdated.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!

/siecus/New York, NY -- A nationwide poll recently conducted of lower-income1 parents and guardians released today by the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS) found that parents and guardians overwhelmingly support comprehensive sex education programs that teach young people all aspects of sexuality, including how to use birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy and how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. This tremendous support cut across ethnicities -- white, African American, and Hispanic. Specifically, the poll found:
  • By 81 percent to 16 percent, these parents and guardians favor sex education programs that teach young people about all aspects of sex and sexuality -- including how to use birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy and how to protect against STDs -- over programs that focus solely on abstinence-only-until-marriage and the dangers of sex.

  • All parents agree across ethnicities that a comprehensive approach is preferable to one that only instructs about the dangers of sex and postponing sex until marriage - African American (85% vs. 13%), White (80% vs. 16%), and Hispanic (80% vs. 18%).

“Parents and guardians at lower income levels and across ethnicities want their kids to receive a comprehensive approach to sex education that includes information about contraception and condoms to prevent unintended pregnancy and the spread of STDs, as well as about abstinence,” said Tamara Kreinin, president and CEO of SIECUS. “This poll demonstrates that the proliferation of unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs across the nation is completely out of step with the parents and guardians of our nation’s most vulnerable young people,” Kreinin continued.

Furthermore, the poll found that while parents recognize the central role they play in teaching their children about sex and sexuality, including relationships and becoming sexually active, how to prevent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other STDs, as well as how to say no to sex, they are not talking to their kids about these critical issues. Specifically, the poll found:

  • Parents and guardians are in near universal agreement that it is important to discuss with their children not just the basic facts about reproduction, but also issues about relationships and becoming sexually active (96%), how to prevent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs (99%), as well as abstinence and how to say no to sex (97%).

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  • Over four in 10 (43%) parents of 9 and 10 year olds have not discussed the basic facts about reproduction with their child. Even those with teenagers have not tackled some vital topics. Two in ten (20%) parents with 13 and 14 year olds and one in ten (11%) parents of kids age 15 to 18 admit they have not discussed issues about relationships and becoming sexually active with their child.

“Open, honest communication about sexual health between parents and guardians and their children is critical throughout childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood to help young people protect their health and well-being and become sexually healthy adults,” said Kreinin. “The results of this poll make it clear that parents and guardians may need more assistance than they think,” Kreinin said.

To help get the conversation started, SIECUS is proud to announce the release of its new publication, Innovative Approaches to Increase Parent-Child Communication about Sexuality: Their Impact and Examples from the Field, and the launch of its new website www.familiesaretalking.org as part of its latest parent-child communication initiative.

“For years, SIECUS has advocated for open communication between parents and guardians and their children to prevent unintended pregnancy and the spread of STDs, including HIV/AIDS. This groundbreaking publication and website will prove to be an invaluable tool for parents and guardians and their communities to increase parent-child communication about sexual health issues,” Kreinin continued.

Click here for poll results.


Reference

  1. Lake Snell Perry & Associates conducted a national survey August 3-20 of 803 lower-income parents and guardians of school-age children. Parents and guardians surveyed had household incomes under 250% of the federal poverty level as defined by the US Census Bureau, “Money Income in the U.S. 2000.”

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 Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.
 
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