United States’ Endorsement of Abstinence-Only Education a ‘Deadly Strategy,’ New York Times Editorial States
Blocking access to condoms and counseling "about how to negotiate safe sex" for teenage girls in Asia -- as the U.S. delegation to the Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference tried to do this week -- is a "deadly strategy" that could exacerbate the Asian HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a New York Times editorial. The Times notes that although health officials project that Asia will be the site of the "next AIDS explosion," the United States "objected to promoting condom use among adolescents" to prevent HIV because it might appear to "encourag[e] underage sex." The Bush administration has "concluded that family planning and sex education abroad -- including AIDS education -- can be sacrificed to please the far right without angering Americans who want to keep abortion legal here," the editorial states. Even though "abstinence is the goal" of the Bush administration's policy, there is "plenty of evidence that teaching abstinence does not work -- and the alternative for young women in Asia is not only pregnancy but, increasingly, AIDS," the Times says. The editorial concludes, "Whatever the Bush administration believes about when life begins, it should not advocate measures that increase the possibility it will end in early adulthood" (New York Times, 12/20).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.