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U.S. Adults Favor Balanced Sex Education Programs

Support for such programs seen as strong among moderates, conservatives and liberals

MONDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- American adults of all political stripes support comprehensive sex education programs that teach children about abstinence and other ways to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, according to a study published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Amy Bleakley, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, analyzed survey data from 1,096 adults -- 39.5 percent self-identified as politically moderate, 35.5 percent as conservative and 25 percent as liberal -- who gave their opinions on three different types of sex education: abstinence-only, comprehensive, and comprehensive that includes condom instruction.

The researchers found that 82 percent of participants supported comprehensive sex education programs, 68.5 percent supported condom instruction and 36 percent supported abstinence-only programs. A majority of moderates, conservatives and liberals supported comprehensive programs, the report indicates.

"To the extent that unproven abstinence-only programs have displaced effective comprehensive programs, the abstinence-only funding may have had much less effect on the behavior of youth than its supporters have hoped," states the author of an accompanying editorial. "In fact, it is even possible that by making the funds so restrictive, they had the opposite effect intended."

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