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April 28, 1999

Abstinence and Safer Sex Among Adolescents

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

To the Editor: The Editorial by Dr DiClemente1 criticizes the $50 million per year allocated by Congress for abstinence education as a triumph of ideology over science. There are reasons to believe that the editorialist has made a hasty judgment.

The National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health found that teens whose parents made it clear that they expected them not to have sex and expected their teens not to use birth control were much less likely to have had sex than other teens.2 In addition, teens who had made a pledge of abstinence were 3 times less likely to have had sex.