[This article is reprinted in part courtesy of Arizona Partners for Abstinence Education (APAE)]
PHOENIX – A study released in 2003, conducted by LeCroy & Milligan of Arizona, documents the impact of abstinence education on Arizona teens in reducing sexual behavior that can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. (STDs). The five-year study, which parallels national statistics, found that 95% of youths who were virgins as they entered Arizona abstinence programs remained virgins 13 months later. Additionally, 52% of students who had engaged in sex before participating in abstinence classes were practicing abstinence.
Diane Long, Director of Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Programs (TAPP), has witnessed firsthand the success of abstinence education with teens. “One of the main things I see happening is that there is almost a sense of relief or validation for teens being sexually abstinent. So many of the kids are feeling that everybody is having sex.”
Delong says she sees young people in her programs, “empowered to make good decisions, whether that decision is to reinforce their commitment to abstinence or in making a decision to change their own behavior and consider abstinence.”
Karie Hughes, founder of Passions and Principles abstinence education, agrees that students are anxious to receive the facts about sex. “It is critical students hear a message about sexual choices,” Hughes says. “Abstinence is a choice that will save them from STDs and emotional hurt. Abstinence education allows them to understand ‘why' and ‘how' to choose sexual integrity.”
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