Evidence on the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education: An Update

The Heritage Foundation

– February 19, 2010

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Teen sexual activity remains a widespread problem confronting the nation. Each year, some 2.6 million teenagers become sexually active—a rate of 7,000 teens per day. Among high school students, nearly half report having engaged in sexual activity, and one-third are currently active.

Sexual activity during teenage years poses serious health risks for youths and has long-term implications. Early sexual activity is associated with an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), reduced psychological and emotional well- being, lower academic achievement, teen pregnancy, and out-of-wedlock childbearing.