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Louisiana: Board Considers Abstinence Health Program

April 11, 2003

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 As a result, parts of this article may be outdated.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

Dan Richey, state coordinator of the Louisiana Governor's Program on Abstinence, recently asked the Lafayette Parish School Board to institute an abstinence-only program for seventh-grade public school students. "Our goal would be ... to be in the classroom next fall in a pilot program," Richey said.

The 12-week course provides one hour of instruction per week. According to program literature, the course does not include any discussion of condoms or contraception but talks extensively about STDs, peer pressure and self-respect. Richey said the program provides information on how condoms and other birth control methods do not prevent the spread of STDs. "We want the students to understand there is a myth out there about condoms preventing disease," Richey said.

CDC reports the surest way to avoid STD transmission is to abstain from sexual intercourse, but the correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the chances.

Superintendent James Easton said no decision has been made, and the matter would be recommended for board approval. "We do have a program presently in place. It does not hurt to have more training in this regard," he said.

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At present, 36 Louisiana school districts use the governor's abstinence-only program. All program materials are provided by the state, which receives $1.6 million from the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 to administer it, Richey said. Volunteers from Lafayette Parish would be trained to teach the classes, which are often taught by Protestant or Catholic catechism teachers, Richey said. "We look for people who have a passion for the issue and have time to prepare and go into the classroom," Richey said. "We have 500 volunteer teachers who have taught 20,000 students statewide."

Back to other CDC news for April 11, 2003

Previous Updates

Adapted from:
Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, La.)
04.08.03; Sebreana Domingue

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