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April 28, 1999

Abstinence and Safer Sex Among Adolescents—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(16):1485-1488. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-16-jbk0428

In Reply: We agree with Dr Berman et al that using biomarkers for STDs is valuable in HIV prevention research, but the low level of sexual experience of our participants could have yielded insufficient statistical power to make the analysis feasible. Moreover, although a positive STD test result establishes that a person had unprotected intercourse, a negative test result does not exclude this possibility. The test could be negative, not because the person practiced safer sex or abstinence, but because the person had unprotected intercourse with an uninfected partner.

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