In spite of the abyssmal failure of abstinence only sex education, it continues to be touted by the uptight and the religious.
Here in the US, the curriculum is set out state by state (at the high school level) as with the major subjects such as Math and English. But what is this: even though Texas has a fairly comprehensive standard (compared to some other states), these standards are not adhered to by MOST districts!
See this article about why this happens.
This is not directly related to African issues, however: Keep in mind the power of the convictions of the people here who see to it that abstinence only is taught exclusively. Their influence also taints decisions on at least some of the billions of dollars for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa, and some monies have come with the condition that it be used for abstinence only.
The approach is an embarrassing failure in the US, it could be a disaster of epic proportions in Africa.
(Fixed the link for you.)
Chris Mooney devotes an entire chapter to the absurdity of an abstinence-only sex education approach in his book The Republican War on Science. The whole thing rests on a pseudo-Calvinistic suppression of the topic of sex. The religious often have this idea that dealing with sex is somehow shameful (the article says as much) and embarrassing, probably because of some misplaced and outdated morality derived from the bible’s conservatism regarding fornication and nudity and related matters. In short, religion once again poses a real threat to people – in this case both their physical and emotional wellbeing.
One must question the soundness of attaching “moral” conditions to money earmarked for health programmes when those conditions fly in the face of well-established empirical observation, in this case that abstinence-only is about the least effective strategy in the presence of raging teenage hormones. It seems then that “moral” is no more than a synonym for “as long as they do it my way, and never mind the facts.”
Thanks for fixing the link, Luthon (I didn’t even check it after posting).
I read Chris Mooney’s book, and am reminded now of that chapter.
I think placing conditions on humanitarian aid in general is a bad thing. The only conditions that should be placed is that there is proper oversight by a third party to ensure the money is used for what it is supposed to be used for. That is justified by situations such as the scandals in west Africa where corrupt governments were taking the lion’s share of aid to use to continue their wars while those in need continued to suffer.