Abstinence Programs

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A long-awaited study has found that students who participated in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex a few years later as those who did not.

The study, which was mandated by Congress, also found that those who attended one of the four abstinence classes that were reviewed reported having similar numbers of sexual partners as those who did not attend the classes.

They also first had sex at about the same age as their control group counterparts 14-point-nine years.

The federal government now spends about 176 million dollars annually on abstinence-until-marriage education. But Bush administration officials say the abstinence message also needs to be reinforced in subsequent years to truly affect behavior.

Critics say the study shows that current sex education programs need to be changed.

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