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Thursday, March 25, 2010

HPV, cancer and abstinence

A recent USA Today news article, "Poorer girls not getting HPV vaccine for cervical cancer" focuses on access to the vaccine but neglects to mention potentially lifesaving facts about how the virus is contracted and other means of prevention.
According to guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "HPV is passed on through genital contact, most often during vaginal and anal sex. HPV may also be passed on during oral sex and genital-to-genital contact." Since condoms may not fully protect against HPV, the CDC acknowledges that the only surefire way to prevent HPV is to abstain from sexual activity.  
As USA Today has reported, rigorous, peer-reviewed clinical research has proven abstinence programs to be highly effective—significantly more effective, in fact, than the typical condom-centered or so-called "comprehensive" sex education programs.
Parents want abstinence education for their children. As Zogby polling revealed, when parents learn what abstinence education vs. comprehensive sex education actually teaches, their support for abstinence programs reaches 60%, while support for "comprehensive sex" programs drops to 30%."
The tragic news is that Congress and the administration have bought into propaganda about abstinence programs and pushed to zero out federal funding for abstinence education. If anti-abstinence partisans in Congress and the President can muster the humility to admit their mistake and restore funding for effective abstinence education, our nation's teens can gain a rock-solid wall of defense not only against HPV but also other potentially deadly sexually transmitted diseases.
For more information:
  • Heritage Foundation's blog, "Abstinence Education Effective in Reducing Teen Sex, Comprehensive Sex Ed Not" 
  • National Abstinence Education Association news release, "New Study Validates Effectiveness of Abstinence Education."

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