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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    Public expectations concerning confidentiality protection of adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health care in Lithuania: Findings of the surveys conducted in 2005 and 2012.

    Jaruseviciene L; Zaborskis A; Lazarus JV

    European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care. 2014 Apr; 19(2):102-107.

    OBJECTIVE: An adolescent's right to confidential healthcare is protected by international law and professional consensus. However, parental and social support for confidential sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, in particular, varies greatly. This study documents Lithuanian residents' expectations with regard to confidentiality protection for adolescents in this domain, and explores the factors related to the diversity of these expectations. METHODS: Two national surveys of Lithuanian residents completed in 2005 and 2012 using anonymous questionnaires. Participants rated their expectations for confidentiality using a five-point Likert scale for eight types of SRH consultations. RESULTS: Public anticipation for confidentiality depended on whether issues related to sexual behaviour or to its consequences were addressed during adolescent consultation. Only younger respondents had higher expectations for confidentiality in both contexts. Public expectations regarding confidentiality were less demanding in 2012 than in 2005. CONCLUSIONS: The expectation of confidentiality protection was greater for topics related to sexual behaviour than for the consequences of sexual behaviour, such as pregnancy, abortion or a sexually transmitted infection. This implies a need for targeted information strategies for the general population and explicit guidance for physicians on when and for whom care should remain confidential.
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  2. 2

    CDC's condom fact sheets: a comparison.

    Barker B; Hauser D; Alford S

    Washington, D.C., Advocates for Youth, 2005. [2] p. (Issues at a Glance)

    In 1999, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a fact sheet with messages to encourage sexually active people to use condoms to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In 2001, under pressure from anti-condom activists within the administration, CDC removed that document, replacing it a year later with a very different fact sheet. While there are many nuanced differences between the two fact sheets, there are two main distinctions. The 2002 fact sheet shows 1) a bias within the administration towards promoting abstinence over condom use, even for those who are sexually active; and 2) a willingness to censor vital, life-saving information, even in the face of an HIV pandemic. Below are several examples that illustrate these distinctions. (excerpt)
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  3. 3

    Responsible Education About Life (REAL) Act.

    Dhingra N

    Washington, D.C., Advocates for Youth, 2005. [2] p. (The Facts)

    The Responsible Education about Life (REAL) Act, formerly the Family Life Education Act, would provide federal money to support responsible sex education in schools. This education would include science-based, medically accurate, and age appropriate public health information about both abstinence and also contraception. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the REAL Act in Congress (H.R. 2553 and S. 368). (excerpt)
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  4. 4
    Peer Reviewed

    Public opinion on sex education in US schools.

    Bleakley A; Hennessy M; Fishbein M

    Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2006 Nov; 160(11):1151-1156.

    The objective was to examine US public opinion on sex education in schools to determine how the public's preferences align with those of policymakers and research scientists. Design: Cross-sectional survey. Setting: July 2005 through January 2006. Participants: Randomly selected nationally representative sample of US adults aged 18 to 83 years (N=1096). Main Outcome Measures: Support for 3 different types of sex education in schools: abstinence only, comprehensive sex education, and condom instruction. Approximately 82% of respondents indicated support for programs that teach students about both abstinence and other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Similarly, 68.5% supported teaching how to properly use condoms. Abstinence-only education programs, in contrast, received the lowest levels of support (36%) and the highest level of opposition (about 50%) across the 3 program options. Self-identified conservative, liberal, and moderate respondents all supported abstinence-plus programs, although the extent of support varied significantly. Our results indicate that US adults, regardless of political ideology, favor a more balanced approach to sex education compared with the abstinence-only programs funded by the federal government. In summary, abstinence-only programs, while a priority of the federal government, are supported by neither a majority of the public nor the scientific community. (author's)
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  5. 5
    Peer Reviewed

    Comprehensive sex education: strong public support and persuasive evidence of impact, but little funding.

    Kirby D

    Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2006 Nov; 160(11):1182-1184.

    The article by Bleakley et al strong evidence that a very large majority of adults in this country supports comprehensive sex education programs that teach about abstinence and also other methods of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, whereas only a minority of adults supports the teaching of only abstinence. These results build on numerous somewhat similar surveys that have been conducted for decades demonstrating such support. Indeed, as long ago as 1943, the Gallup Poll found that 68% of adults approved of sex education in schools. By 1985, that support had increased to 85%. Furthermore, for decades these polls have demonstrated that adults want the instruction to include both abstinence and condoms and other methods of contraception. Notably, this support is not limited to only certain parts of the country; similar polls in more conservative southern states, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas, have demonstrated strong support for programs that encourage abstinence but also encourage the use of condoms and other contraceptives among those who do have sex. (excerpt)
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  6. 6

    Sexual attitudes and behavior of young adolescents.

    National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

    Washington, D.C., National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, [2005]. [3] p.

    There is reason to be concerned about adolescents having sex at an early age. Early sexual activity has been linked to a greater number of sexual partners over time and an increased risk of both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In addition, the younger a girl is the first time she has sex, the more likely it is that the experience was unwanted. The information in this fact sheet, collected from nationally representative data sets and public opinion surveys, provides some insights into the sexual attitudes and behavior of young adolescents. (excerpt)
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  7. 7

    Science says: American opinion on teen pregnancy and related issues 2003.

    Albert B

    Washington, D.C., National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Putting What Works to Work, 2004 Feb. [4] p. (Science Says No. 7)

    Who most influences teens' decisions about sex? Do parents or peers matter more? Should society strongly encourage adolescents to abstain from sexual intercourse? What do adults and teens think about topics such as contraception, virginity, and the influence of the media? Understanding Americans' attitudes about these topics helps point to strategies for addressing teen pregnancy prevention. To that end, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy commissions annual surveys of adults and adolescents seeking answers to these and related questions. This Science Says brief summarizes some of the key findings from the National Campaign's 2003 survey. Data in this brief are drawn from the publication, With One Voice 2003: America's Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy. The surveys were conducted via telephone in August and September 2003 with over 1,000 adults (aged 20 and over) and 1,000 adolescents (aged 12--19). All results are considered nationally representative. See the methodology section below for more information on how these surveys were conducted. (excerpt)
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  8. 8

    Stereotyped perceptions of adolescents' health risk behaviors.

    Erkut S; Szalacha LA; Alarcón O; Coll CG

    Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 1999; 5(4):340-349.

    Are youths, particularly youths of color, engaged in high levels of health risk behaviors, and is public perception regarding these behaviors accurate? In answer to the 1st question, 2 analytic samples were drawn: (a) 14-15-year-old 9th graders (N = 94) from the Puerto Rican Adolescent study, conducted in the greater Boston area, and (b) 14-15-year-old 9th graders (N = 876) from the Massachusetts 1995 Youth Risk Behavior (YRB) survey. The samples were used to determine the comparative levels of health risk behaviors in 3 areas: intimate relations, substance use, and violence. The Puerto Rican adolescents reported being engaged in significantly less substance abuse and violence than did the adolescents of the Massachusetts YRB survey. To address the 2nd question of public perception, a 3rd, community samples of Boston-area professionals and college students (N = 99) estimated the percentages of Puerto Rican 9th graders' and Massachusetts 9th graders' participation in health risk behaviors. With the exception of engaging in sexual relations, where the community estimate and the Puerto Rican self-reports were nearly equal, the community sample overestimated the Puerto Rican youths' levels of participation in every other area of risk. Moreover, the community sample overestimated the Massachusetts 9th graders' behaviors with regard to failing to use contraception and school safety. Methodological considerations of self-report data are considered, and the implications of the stereotypic views of adolescents are discussed. (author's)
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  9. 9

    Community resources in teaching sex education.

    Risedorph JR

    Marriage and Family Living. 1946 Winter; 8(1):13.

    It scarcely seems necessary at this time to discuss the need for sex education. Even the public has recognized the need. In June 1943 a national poll showed that in a cross section of public opinion 68% of those interviewed favored giving a course in sex education in high schools; in cities over 100,000 there was a 79% approval. Many parents of the teenagers seem relieved to hand over the responsibility to the schools. Such widescale approval is comparatively recent, and perhaps expedited by war problems such as broken controls, new independence of youth facing adult situations, and publicized delinquencies. A sudden awareness of dangers, with fear for their adolescent-age children, may have been a strong factor in this expressed approval for teaching sex education in the high schools. The facts are that while public opinion is more enlightened, we still a long way to go educationally to incorporate this subject matter in our schools on a broad scale. Over twenty-seven of our States have had a negligible amount of attention given to the subject; only about ten States have had encouragement on a State wide basis. Many of the States have had sponsorship from the community rather than the school groups, and even among those communities which favor such education, many do not have functioning programs. (excerpt)
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  10. 10

    Toward understanding the problems of early marriage.

    Avery CE

    Family Life Coordinator. 1961 Apr; 10(2):27-34.

    Adult group discussion of early marriage presents certain difficulties to the leader-difficulties which may be shared by the teacher when students as they often do, outwardly reflect parental attitudes. To cope with these difficulties, leaders and teachers must examine rather carefully the psychology of their audiences with respect to this topic and plan strategy accordingly. In other words, leaders and teachers need to have some notion of what is probably going on in the minds of discussants, consciously or unconsciously, and how these mental or emotional processes can be channeled toward worth-while ends. The present essay is an attempt to aid in this task. In the first place, it must be assumed that the response of citizens to the marriage explosion among youngsters who, a generation or so ago, would have been considered children, is highly emotional and largely disapproving. Witness almost any issue of any newspaper or magazine, countless sermons, radio and T-V programs; and PTA sessions throughout the land. This disapproval shows itself in three general ways. (excerpt)
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  11. 11

    New international inventory on knowledge, attitude, behaviour, and practices.

    World Health Organization [WHO]. Global Programme on AIDS. Social and Behavioural Research Unit

    [Geneva, Switzerland], WHO, Global Programme on AIDS, Social and Behavioral Research Unit, [1990]. [4] p. (WHO File: Data on Social Issues; Report No. 2)

    The Social and Behavioural Research Unit has prepared its second international inventory of Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour, and Practices surveys. The report reviews 80 projects drawing upon both published and unpublished materials dealing with 7 major study groups: adolescents and young people, the general public, health care workers, homosexual/bisexual men, drug injectors, prostitutes, and other groups. For each of these the inventory classifies the project concerned by selected key features such as when and where it was undertaken, sampling strategy used, and methodology and conclusions. (excerpt)
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  12. 12
    Peer Reviewed

    Adolescents in China.

    Hoy C

    Health and Place. 2001 Dec; 7(4):261-271.

    This paper reviews the nature and explores the context of, and reactions to, reproductive health education in China by both the target population of adolescents at school and the wider public. The debate about reproductive health education and its content is taking place within the context of rapid behavioural and sociological changes in China which, in turn is, generating conflicting demands concerning the need for education by the population and the control of the population by the government. Foucault's theories on sexuality and discipline are found to be useful in exploring the subject of reproductive health education in China. (author's)
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  13. 13
    Peer Reviewed

    New reproductive health law, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH MATTERS. 2000 Nov; 8(16):185.

    A new reproductive health law was passed in the city of Buenos Aires in June 2000, marking an important turning point in the history of reproductive health and rights in Argentina. The law is based on the City's Constitution of 1996 which "recognizes sexual and reproductive rights free of violence and coercion as basic human rights". The law: 1) guarantees women's and men's access to contraceptive information, methods and services needed for the responsible exercise of their sexual and reproductive rights; 2) guarantees holistic care for women during pregnancy, delivery and puerperium; and 3) establishes actions to reduce maternal/child mortality and morbidity. The law generated heated debate and street demonstrations, particularly regarding whether adolescents should have access to contraceptives without parental authorization, whether the IUD should be included among the methods provided at public facilities (as many opponents claimed the IUD is an abortifacient), and the duty of public health care workers to provide family planning services even if this is against their principles or religious beliefs. When the law was passed, the provision of IUDs was included along with other reversible and temporary methods; sterilization, therefore, appears to have been excluded. Parental authorization for adolescents requesting contraception was not required, but instead the law encouraged the participation of parents in everything to do with the reproductive health of their children, where possible. Finally, the law encouraged the use of condoms for dual protection. There was no reference to conscientious objection. (full text)
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  14. 14

    A new vision for adolescent sexual health.

    Wagoner J

    TRANSITIONS. 1999 Mar; 10(3):12-3.

    US adults are generally uncomfortable with the subject of adolescent sexuality. As such, they either pretend that teenagers do not have sex or try to control and limit the information which young people receive about sex and contraception. Sexual abstinence until marriage is the US Congressionally mandated message to students. In contrast, adults, and society in general, in the Netherlands, France, and Germany are comfortable with adolescent sexuality, and understand that teens have sex as a natural part of growing into sexually healthy adults. Perhaps paradoxically, adolescents in these 3 countries have first intercourse 1-2 years later than do US teens. The US also has a higher teen birth rate than the Netherlands, France, and Germany, as well as Morocco, Albania, Brazil, and more than 50 other developing countries. The teen birth rate in the Netherlands is almost 8 times lower than that of the US. Adolescent HIV and STD rates are also higher in the Netherlands, France, and Germany than in the US. At the heart of these 3 European countries' success in achieving low teen pregnancy and HIV/STD rates is a cultural openness and acceptance of adolescent sexuality which respects young people's rights and responsibilities as sexually maturing members of society. Rather than following the American model of trying to prevent young people from having sex, the Dutch, Germans, and French teach and empower their youths to behave responsibly when they decide to have sex. The US could learn from the Dutch, French, and German experiences with adolescent sexuality in developing and implementing a more balanced approach to adolescent sexuality.
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  15. 15

    Findings from the "Straight Talk" radio program listeners survey.

    Imani MR

    [Unpublished] 1998 Feb. [2], 19, [2] p. (USAID Contract No. 623-0133-C-00-4027-00 DISH)

    This report presents the findings from a public opinion survey among listeners to the Ugandan "Straight Talk" radio program in 1997. The survey included 71 of 145 respondents who had listened to the radio show, written a letter to the program with a return address, and were unmarried. The radio show targeted unmarried youth. Analysis differentiated between those who preferred to listen to the program in English (49.3%) compared to those who preferred to listen in Lugandan or Runyankole. 78.9% of respondents were male, and about 85% of respondents were aged 12-32 years. 78.9% listened to the program weekly. 47.9% listened more often than they did the previous year. 46.5% listened with a friend, and 36.6% listened alone. 70% reported learning something. Most reported learning about AIDS prevention, followed by abstaining from sex, self growth, sexually transmitted disease prevention, the importance of condoms, and family planning. 97% reported behavior change as a result of listening. 33.8% reported abstaining from sex or delaying sex due to the program. 80.3% reported discussing the show with their friends. Most (49.3%) liked "Kafunda Stage" the best, followed by letters (33.8%). "Kafunda Stage" was a 10 minute drama about a group of youth living together and their struggles with daily life. The "Straight Talk" weekly show includes 30 minutes devoted to music, listeners' letters, announcements of events for youth, and a 10-minute episode of "Kafunda Stage." Listeners liked the music the least. 52.1% reported that the radio show had the most information. 31.0% reported that listenership would increase with a time or day change, or with the change to a bi-weekly format.
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  16. 16

    Views of American adults: teen sexuality and teen pregnancy. [Press release].

    Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

    Menlo Park, California, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 1995 Mar 20. [2] p.

    This document summarizes public opinions expressed about adolescent sexuality and pregnancy in the Kaiser Survey on Public Knowledge and Attitudes on Contraception and Unplanned Pregnancy administered via telephone in 1994 to a random national sample of 2002 adults. The survey indicated that most US adults have a fairly realistic view about adolescent sexuality with 73% agreeing that teenage sexual activity has been increasing. Most adults know that at least 70% of 18-year-old women and 79% of 18-year-old men have been sexually active (1986-88 data), but most adults erroneously believe that more than a third of 14-year-old adolescents engage in sexual intercourse when the actual figure is 23% (in 1988). A third of the respondents correctly estimated that 33-53% of US women experienced an adolescent pregnancy, but another third overestimated and the rest underestimated the percentage. While 85% of respondents reported that having a child during adolescent makes a mother more likely to resort to welfare, only 55% of mothers on welfare had their first child during adolescence. While 84% of adults believe adolescent childbearing makes it less likely a woman will complete her education, more than 70% of adolescent mothers complete high school. Most US adults believe that women who gave birth as adolescents will be less likely to earn a good salary. In fact women who became adolescent mothers are four times as likely as women who postponed child bearing to live in poverty during their 20s and early 30s.
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  17. 17

    Editorial: our view of adolescent sexuality -- a focus on risk behavior without the developmental context [editorial]

    Ehrhardt AA

    AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. 1996 Nov; 86(11):1523-5.

    Current US policies related to the sexuality of children and adolescents reflect a profound ambivalence. The widely held belief that sex education will promote sexual promiscuity is an example of the failure to conduct an impartial assessment of the issues related to child development and sexual behavior. At present, fewer than 10% of US children receive comprehensive sex education--a deficiency that has contributed to rates of teen pregnancy in the US that exceed those in other countries with comparable cultures and economies. US government policy reflects attempts to legislate morality through ineffective social welfare programs that punish recipients who bear a child. Behavioral research has taken a similar approach, presenting sexuality within the context of discussions of risk factors and negative consequences rather than examining its role in human development. Lacking is any consideration of sexual competence as a skill that children and adolescents must master through the acquisition of thoughtful information and experience. For example, it is possible that postponement of sexual behavior beyond the adolescent years has an adverse effect on normal human development. Moreover, a narrow focus on fear and disease threatens to lead to increased rates of sexual distortions and interpersonal problems for the current generation of young people.
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  18. 18

    Newsroom guide to abortion and family planning. 2nd ed.

    Anderson DE

    Washington, D.C., Communications Consortium Media Center, 1996. [9], 128, [3] p.

    This guidebook for news reporters and editors provides quick access to basic information on the historical events, political acts, and policy decisions shaping current family planning (FP) and abortion issues as well as references to further resources for in-depth research and reporting. The first part of the guide contains an overview of who has abortions and why, how FP services are implemented in the US (including information on where abortions are performed, teenage contraception and abortion, sex education, and school-based clinics), political factors, public opinion as expressed in the polls, the actions of all three branches of the federal government which had a reproductive health impact, and a rundown of abortion laws and activity in the states as of early 1996. The second part of the guide deals with policy issues such as 1) abortion restrictions and their impacts, 2) the impact of research and development (RU-486, Norplant, Depo-Provera, other abortifacients, and fetal tissue research), 3) reproductive health and the Christian Right, and 4) international issues pertaining to developing countries (world abortion laws; abortion in developing countries; population stabilization, FP, and US foreign policy; and the impact of US domestic politics on foreign population assistance). The book ends with a quick reference which includes a listing of abortion rights advocates and opponents, a glossary of terms, references, an index, and a foldout which illustrates FP history at a glance.
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  19. 19
    Peer Reviewed

    Student opinions of condom distribution at a Denver, Colorado, high school.

    Fanburg JT; Kaplan DW; Naylor KE

    JOURNAL OF SCHOOL HEALTH. 1995 May; 65(5):181-5.

    Students at a high school in urban Denver, Colorado, in October 1992 initiated and helped conduct a school-wide survey on student opinions about making condoms available in their school. Students simultaneously and anonymously completed the survey. Only 994 of the school's 1330 enrolled students, however, had the opportunity to complete the survey due to the absenteeism of students, attendance at physical education class during the block, or the teacher's failure to administer the survey. 336 enrolled students simply did not receive a survey. Moreover, only 931 completed surveys figure in the final analysis since 63 were excluded due to illegibility or ambiguities in the responses. A larger percentage of students in the lower grades responded to the survey, corresponding to increased attrition as students advance in school and a higher absenteeism rate for upperclassmen. 85% of the surveyed students replied that condoms should be distributed in their school. 76% noted that making condoms more accessible will neither increase nor decrease the frequency of sexual activity among teens. Proponents of in-school condom distribution pointed to the ability of condom use to prevent the spread of AIDS and other STDs, and unwanted pregnancy as the most important reasons to support condom distribution, followed by the belief that increased condom availability will prompt more students to use them when having sexual intercourse. The embarrassment and financial cost of having to buy condoms were also cited by 24% and 17% of students, respectively, as reasons for making condoms available in school. 45% of students feel that condoms should be distributed from machines in bathrooms, 42% from the school nurse, 8% from other students, and 5% from teachers. 61% of condom distribution opponents were female. 59% of the opponents, while claiming to not be against condoms, believe that school is just not appropriate point of distribution for them. Other opponents believe that condom distribution will stimulate the incidence of sexual activity, that individuals should not have sex until they are older or married, that distributing condoms is religiously wrong, that condom distribution would be wasteful since some people do not use condoms every time they have intercourse, and that it would be embarrassing to procure condoms at school. Students in lower grades tended to be more conservative with their beliefs.
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  20. 20

    Contraceptives and minors: the emperor has no clothes.

    Radosh A


    The rate of teenage pregnancy in the US is significantly higher than in any other industrialized nation. Studies have shown the teenagers in other countries are not more sexually active. The biggest difference between US and the rest of the industrialized world is the US failure to make contraceptives easily available to teenagers. There are only 2 ways to prevent teenage pregnancy: 1) get them to shop having sex, or 2) get them to use contraceptives. When forming policy it is important to know which method will be more successful. Policymakers, educators, and health professionals are all guilty of rationalizing why option 1 will work better than option 2, even though their is little or no research or anecdotal evidence to support their claim. The facts are clear: in other industrialized countries the more freely available contraceptives are to teenagers, the lower the pregnancy rate. In New York City, 840 condoms were distributed in just 4 months upon request to participants in a male responsibility discussion group. Nationwide 2000 teenage boys were sent a coupon for free condoms by mail and 6% returned their coupons (the normal rate of return would be 3%). A 1988 study revealed that condom usage between 1979-88 among 17-19 year old males in metropolitan areas doubled. A 1987 Harris poll found that 60% of all adults favored condom advertising on television. A 1989 follow-up study revealed that 89% of parents of adolescents favored condom advertising on television. The most common reason given for not increasing access to contraceptives is that teenagers will receive the wrong message. Another fear is that parents will complain, yet in the 2000 condom coupon example, less than 1/3 of 1% of the parents complained. Is the rest of the industrialized world giving their teenagers the wrong message by making contraceptives easily available? Clearly, US policy against contraceptive access for teenagers is giving the worst message and the high teenage pregnancy rate is the best evidence.
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  21. 21
    Peer Reviewed

    AIDS update. Condom availability in New York City schools.

    Kerr DL

    JOURNAL OF SCHOOL HEALTH. 1991 Aug; 61(6):279-80.

    Despite strong protests from a minority group of critics, the New York City Board of Education adopted a measure February 27, 1991, approving universal availability of condoms in city high schools to students without the need for parental consent. This expanded HIV education program allows the system's 261,000 students in 120 public high schools to procure condoms from any of 17 clinics and any teacher or staff member volunteering for the program. While a few, small U.S. school districts have implemented such programs in efforts to curb the incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases infections, and unwanted pregnancies, this move by New York city's enormous school district could set the trend for similar action by other large school systems. The Centers for Disease Control document 691 cases of AIDS in youths aged 13-19, and 7,303 among those aged 20-24. More than 20% of U.S. AIDS cases are among those aged 20-29. Given the long incubation period for HIV, many if not most of these case probably stem from HIV infection during the teenage years. New York City accounts for 20% of all reported AIDS cases among youths aged 13-21, placing New York teens at disproportionate risk for infection. The number of infected adolescents doubles every 14 months. More than adults, these youths are likely to have contracted HIV through heterosexual contact instead of through IV-drug use or homosexual intercourse. Making condoms readily and confidentially available to adolescents, youths vulnerable to HIV infection will no longer fail to procure them due to embarrassment, fear of resistance from store clerks, and cost. The Youth News Service reveals youths to have been most supportive of the new program for several months, and anxious for its implementation. A random poll of adults found support for condom distribution in high schools and junior high schools to be 64% and 47%, respectively.
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  22. 22

    Looking at abortion and contraception.

    Khomassuridze AG

    INTEGRATION. 1991 Sep; (29):8-15.

    This article describes the urgent need for modern family planning (FP) services and supplies in the Soviet Union, and presents the nation's high induced abortion rate as one of its most serious medical and social problems. With more than 6 million legal abortions per year, and another estimated 6 million performed illegally, the problem of induced abortion is placed on par with heart disease and cancer in the Soviet Union. Induced abortion is the primary method of birth control, responsible for terminating 2 out of 3 pregnancies. Many abortion seekers, especially those employing illegal services, suffer complications resulting in loss of ability to work or even death. The maternal mortality rate for 1988 was 43.0/10,000. Efforts to decrease the level of abortion have increased during reconstruction, and have been witness to a decline in the number of abortions by 866,000 over the period 1985-1988. Contributory factors behind this decline, as well as the decrease of the abortion ratio, are an increased contraceptive prevalence level totalling 13.7% of reproductive-age women, stabilization of the birth rate at a low level, a smaller proportion of reproductive-age women in the population, and rate reporting changes. Nonetheless, inadequate family planning services prevail in the Soviet Union. Instead of focusing upon abortion and contraception, services focus upon diagnosing and treating infertility, and offer neither FP information nor services for premarital youths. Moreover, contraceptive supplies suffer serious, ongoing shortages. Research is needed on the social, demographic, medical, and biological aspects of reproductive behavior in the Soviet Union. Regional differences, abortion law, public opinion on illegitimate pregnancy, abortion methods, health personnel training, and maternal and child health are also discussed.
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  23. 23

    Policymakers - stand up and be counted]

    Mann JT

    TEC NETWORKS. 1991 Sep; (30):1, 8-9.

    The author expresses concern over the lack of legislative interest in and support for reducing and rate and incidence of pregnancy and childbearing in the adolescent and teenage population. While experts and professionals have some of the answers needed to reduce these rates, often misinformed, ill-advised, and ignorant policymakers provide neither cooperation nor support for effective changes. Policymakers who have pledged to address the needs and social conditions of this age group, yet have failed to deliver once elected, should be removed from office. Those few who do support the interests of youths need help in the form of citizen advocacy and leadership. The reader is called upon to remain informed and abreast of local, state, and federal legislation regarding the needs of at-risk, pregnant, and parenting adolescents. Policymakers must, in turn, be educated about social factors directly contributing to the continued prevalence and incidence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Systemic change, institutions, laws, and policies are required to better meet the needs of youths. Reasons for the decreased incidence of teen childbearing over the period 1970-88 include a decrease in the size of the adolescent population since 1988, increased use of contraception, and more abortions. In closing the Title X family planning program recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is discussed. In view of Title X's crucial and unique role in providing services to low-income women and adolescents, the reader is urged to rally in support of its reauthorization.
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  24. 24

    From sensation to good sense.

    Solomon CM

    AMERICAN MEDICAL NEWS. 1990 Oct 19; 7-8.

    The mission of the Media Project of the Center for Population Options is to encourage the entertainment industry to provide adolescents with positive and realistic message about sexuality and family planning. The project has specifically targeted television as a way to reach teens because they not only watch TV but what they see influences their behavior. According to the project's director, "they emulate their favorite characters." A 1986 Louis Harris poll found that teen-agers ranked TV as the 4th most important source of information, out of 11 choices, on sex and birth control. A study of the 1986 prime-time television season discovered a tremendous amount of sexual references and innuendo in the programs. They found touching behaviors (24.5 times/hour); suggestions and innuendo (16.5 times/hour); sexual intercourse (implied 25 times/hour); and socially taboo behaviors such as sadomasochism and masturbation (intimated 6.2 times/hour). In contrast, education information was only given 1.6 times/hour. There are few references to birth control or responsible conversations about sexual intimacy. The Los Angeles-based media project has 3 program components. These components include a media advisory service that provides creative and technical assistance, an information series designed for consciousness raising, and an awards program. The advisory service sends out background sheets on health-related issues and provides story and script consultation. The information series has inspired industry professionals to integrate messages about teenage sexuality and responsible sex into the TV dramas. The project received 380 requests for information during 1990. The project has also sponsored an annual media awards program since 1983. The awards program is a forum where producers get positive attention for a job well done.
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  25. 25

    Family planning services delivery: Danish experience.

    Osler M; David HP; Morgall J; Rasmussen NK

    DANISH MEDICAL BULLETIN. 1990 Feb; 37(1):95-105.

    This article presents a historical and statistical explanation of the Danish family planning services delivery system. This system has evolved to accommodate the country, people and opinions that make up Denmark. The descriptions of the laws and regulations is given in a historical context and the operation of the system reflects the will of the people. Health care, including family planning is something that the Danish government gives to every Danish citizen, regardless of income. While abortion is legal it is at an unacceptably high rate. As in other Nordic countries, sex is viewed pragmatically, not morally. Sex is seen as a normal natural function, like eating or sleeping. The desire to control pregnancy is clear. 82% of women seeking abortions in Copenhagen were under 20 or over 34, unmarried or not living in a stable partner relationship, or has 2 or more children. Abortion is not a controversial issue in Denmark, it is viewed as a necessary backup to regular contraception. Sex education was practiced for years before compulsory primary school education was integrated in 1970. The article proposes solutions to the problem of the high rate of abortion: improve sex education and family planning teaching abilities for physicians, health nurses, mid-wives, teachers and social workers; revise teacher's guidelines on sex education and intensify sex education in schools; intensify information to risk groups such as teenagers and single women; organize school trips to visit family planning clinics.
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