A team at Oxford University has found that teaching abstinence to young people is failing to protect them from sexual diseases or unwanted pregnancies. The idea of teaching abstinence rather than safe sex has become popular in the US.
The study found that teens who were taught abstinence partook in exactly the same behaviours as those who had no sex education, and that abstinence education had neither a positive nor a negative impact on teen behaviour.
The study’s lead author, Kirsten Underhill, said: "Our analysis suggests that abstinence-only programmes that aim to prevent HIV are not effective. This finding has key implications for policy and practice, especially in the US…”