Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs. Background

By the time Congress enacted PRWORA and authorized funding for abstinence education programs under Title V, Section 510, there was growing concern over the dramatic rise in teen pregnancy and childbirth rates during the late 1980s and early 1990s. By 1991, teen pregnancy and childbirth rates had reached highs of 116.5 and 62.1 per 1,000 women 15 to 19 years of age, respectively. Rates have dropped since that time; for example, by 2004, the teenage birthrate had fallen to 41.1 births per 1,000 women 15 to 19 years of age. However, concerns over the high incidence of births to unwed teen mothers, as well as the broader risks of teen sexual activity, have persisted (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2006; Weinstock et al. 2004; Chesson et al. 2004).


Teen Sexual Activity and Its Consequences

  • In 2005, women 15 to 19 years of age had 831,000 pregnancies, most out of wedlock.
  • In 2005, 14.3 percent of high school students and 21.4 percent of twelfth grade students had had sex with four or more persons.
  • In 2005, 37.2 percent of sexually active high school students and 44.6 percent of sexually active twelfth grade students did not use a condom during their last sexual intercourse.
  • Of the approximately 19 million new STD infections in the U.S. in 2000, nearly half were among persons 15 to 24 years of age.
  • STDs have been linked to infertility, miscarriages, cervical cancer, increased HIV risk, and numerous other health problems. Their cost is estimated at several billion dollars annually.

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