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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: Any discussion of adolescent sexuality is bound to create controversy. The article by Dr Jemmott and colleagues1 and my accompanying Editorial were no exception.

The comments by Mr Panzer need clarification. First, the central theme of the Editorial questioned the exclusivity of the Welfare Reform Act. It is not that abstinence programs would not be a valuable strategy, they would. However, providing unprecedented federal funding for abstinence-only education in the absence of empirical evidence that such programs are effective seems unwarranted. Second, Panzer offers no empirical support for abstinence-only programs. Even though he presents relevant and valuable observational data, it seems inappropriate to equate findings derived from observational studies with data derived from a randomized controlled trial.

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