United States, Iran Have Similar Sex Education Tactics, Advocates for Youth Head Says
The "United States is not unlike Iran in struggling with [the] question" of how to "teach teenagers about safe sex without even whispering the word condom," James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, writes in a New York Times letter to the editor in response to an April 4 Times article on Iran, AIDS and sex education. Wagoner notes that a "small congressional faction" included a provision in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that allocated millions of dollars in funding for abstinence-only sex education programs. According to Wagoner, such programs, "like those in Iran, must censor information about condoms for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, including HIV." Citing a request by President Bush for a 33% increase in the fiscal year 2003 budget for "these misguided programs," Wagoner concludes, "It is time for the United States to follow the suggestions of more than 100 leading public health organizations and stop financing programs that require teachers to censor life-saving information for our nation's youth" (Wagoner, New York Times, 4/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.