STDs, Adolescents and the Politics of Abstinence

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photoTeens, sex, and how to teach them about it, have always sparked heated debate.

In the 1980s the issue was teen pregnancy. Today, it's sexually transmitted diseases. The Centers for Disease Control released a startling report, "Tracking the Hidden Epidemics." Up to 20% of teens will have herpes by the time they reach adulthood, the report said. Up to 46% of young women will have contracted the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), and HPV causes almost all cervical cancer.

So what to do about it? The numbers are chilling. With millions of teens today potentially being infected with STDs - and many not knowing it - there's been a surge in support for abstinence-only sex education in schools. Condoms don't stop all STDs, but can schoolhouse lessons - backed by money from the Bush Administration - do what a prophylactic can't?


Dr. Joe S.McIlhaney - President and Founder of The Medical Institute, a non-profit medical organization based in Austin, Texas

Dr. David Satcher - Former Surgeon General of the United States (1998-2001)

Deborah Hauser - Vice President at Advocates for Youth, a non-profit Washington group that designs programs to help youth make informed decisions about their sexual health

This program aired on July 9, 2002.


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