Sexually Transmitted Diseases

December 3, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 42
Is abstinence the best approach to prevention?
By Sarah Glazer

Introduction

A protester at the STD prevention conference held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Philadelphia in March 2004 criticizes President Bush's plan to expand abstinence-only education.  (Getty Images/Jeff Fusco)
A protester at the STD prevention conference held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Philadelphia in March 2004 criticizes President Bush's plan to expand abstinence-only education. (Getty Images/Jeff Fusco)

The United States has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any industrialized nation. Yet some experts contend the U.S. has no concerted, national campaign to prevent and cure infection. While new AIDS cases have fallen dramatically in the U.S., adolescents, minorities and women suffer disproportionately high rates of all sexual infections. The Bush administration says abstinence is the only 100 percent effective approach to avoiding STDs and bars any organization receiving federal funding for abstinence-only education from discussing contraceptives, except to point out their failure rates. But public health officials see condoms as an essential protective device against STDs and say the abstinence-only message deprives teenagers of crucial, life-saving information and makes little sense in developing countries, where married women are the fastest-growing group infected with AIDS.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
AIDS/HIV and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sep. 18, 2012  Conquering AIDS
Oct. 2009  Rescuing Children
Oct. 26, 2007  Battling HIV/AIDS
Dec. 03, 2004  Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Oct. 13, 2000  Global AIDS Crisis
Dec. 04, 1998  AIDS Update
Apr. 21, 1995  Combating AIDS
Dec. 25, 1992  Women and AIDS
Oct. 06, 1989  Good News and Bad About Aids
Dec. 16, 1988  AIDS Update
Nov. 06, 1987  AIDS Dilemmas
Aug. 09, 1985  AIDS: Spreading Mystery Disease
Jan. 19, 1979  Venereal Disease: Continuing Problem
Jun. 10, 1960  Venereal Disease Control
Jan. 09, 1943  Venereal Disease in the Armed Forces
Oct. 25, 1938  Control of Venereal Diseases
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
HIV and AIDS