May 20, 1998

Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections Among AdolescentsA Clash of Ideology and Science

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama, Birmingham. Dr DiClemente is now with the Department of Behavioral Science and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1998;279(19):1574-1575. doi:10.1001/jama.279.19.1574

The risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection (STI), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), is one of the most significant threats to the health of adolescents.1,2 In response to heightened concern about high rates of STIs and the threat of HIV among adolescents, the development and implementation of programs designed to prevent STI/HIV-associated sexual risk behaviors is a public health priority. While there is increasing consensus regarding the urgency of intervening to prevent STI/HIV-associated sexual risk behaviors, there is considerable controversy as to the most effective intervention approach to use. Safer-sex approaches address abstinence but emphasize information and training in safer-sex skills and behaviors. Abstinence interventions exclusively emphasize values, attitudes, and skills for postponing sexual intercourse.

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