New Hampshire: Benefits of Abstinence Stressed
April 26, 2004
Now that the public comment period has closed for New Hampshire's abstinence task force, a panel will recommend how the state allocates federal Abstinence Education Grant Program funds, according to Brook Dupee, panel coordinator and spokesperson for the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Since 1997, New Hampshire has been awarded about $545,000 in federal abstinence funds, and it has spent nearly half on consultants and media campaigns including radio advertisements, Dupee said. In 2002, the state awarded $3,263 to the Abstinence Education and Research Institute, a private program in Nashua that teaches abstinence in local schools. It was the only abstinence program to receive federal funds, said Dupee.
The remaining abstinence money not been spent because it was not received or because there are questions about how to spend it, said Lisa Bujno, chief of the state Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, which administers New Hampshire's abstinence program. Results are expected soon from an evaluation of federally funded abstinence programs conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc., said Bujno.
The task force also reviewed New Hampshire figures from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey of U.S. high school students. Among 31 schools surveyed, 41.5 percent of students reported having had sex, down from 54.3 percent in 1993. Intercourse with four or more lifetime partners decreased from 15.9 percent of students in 1993 to 10.1 percent in 2003. And of students who had intercourse in the previous three months, 56.4 percent used condoms, up from 51.1 percent in 1993.
However, data reported to the state indicate AIDS, syphilis and other STDs have increased in recent years. "The STD rate is going up, and we feel it's because people are marrying later and getting divorced more frequently and some individuals are having sex at an earlier age," and with more partners, Dupee said. "The good news is the average age of intercourse among teens is going up, so teens are delaying it more, and more teens are choosing to stay abstinent until adulthood."
04.22.04; Clare Kittredge
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.