Former Surgeon General David Satcher Calls for ‘ABC+Hope’ Approach to HIV Prevention in United States
Former Surgeon General David Satcher on Monday at a national conference on sexual health issues in Washington, D.C., said that the United States should adopt the "Abstinence, Be faithful or use Condoms" approach to HIV prevention but should add a component of "hope," the Advocate reports (Advocate, 5/25). High school sex educators, teen sexual abstinence advocates, academics, religious figures, representatives from gay and lesbian groups and a conservative talk show host attended the conference, titled "The Call to Action on Sexual Health: Science and Belief -- Seeking Common Ground," according to the Springfield News-Sun (Nesmith, Springfield News-Sun, 5/26). Satcher said that the "ABC+Hope" approach to HIV/AIDS prevention could "provide the basis for a common-ground approach through which people with divergent views can overcome political gridlock and address issues" related to teen pregnancy, sex education and sexually transmitted diseases -- including HIV/AIDS, according to the Advocate (Advocate, 5/25). Satcher said that "any domestic version of an ABC approach must be expanded to also address the sense of hopelessness that too often leads many people to engage in high-risk sexual behavior" (Morehouse School of Medicine release, 5/24). "If you get an environment where young people don't feel like they have a lot of hope for the future, whether it's drugs or violence or sex, they look it at in a different way," Satcher said, adding, "A child who doesn't feel he or she's going anywhere is not willing to give up even a momentary pleasure" (Springfield News-Sun, 5/26).
Openly Discussing Sex
An "open discussion of sexuality issues is important to promoting sexual health and responsibility," Satcher said, adding, "Regardless of sexual orientation or planned sexual behavior, human sexuality must be understood by all, including those committed to celibacy" (Advocate, 5/25). Joseph McIlhaney, founder of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health and a member of Presidential Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS, said that young people are not "sufficiently warned" about the dangers of sex, according to the News-Sun. "We don't hesitate to tell children they shouldn't smoke, but we don't talk about sex with them, even though sex can hurt them more than smoking," McIlhaney said (Springfield News-Sun, 5/26).
A kaisernetwork.org HealtCast of the conference is available online.