Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Is abstinence the best approach to prevention?

  • By:Sarah Glazer
  • Content Type: Report
  • Publisher: CQ Press
    • Publication year: 2004
    • Online pub date:
  • DOI:


The United States has the highest rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of any industrialized nation. Yet some experts contend the U.S. has no concerted, national campaign to prevent and cure infection. While new AIDS cases have fallen dramatically in the U.S., adolescents, minorities and women suffer disproportionately high rates of all sexual infections. The Bush administration says abstinence is the only 100 percent effective approach to avoiding STDs and bars any organization receiving federal funding for abstinence-only education from discussing contraceptives, except to point out their failure rates. But public health officials see condoms as an essential protective device against STDs and say the abstinence-only message deprives teenagers of crucial, life-saving information and makes little sense in developing countries, where married women are the ...

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