Abstinence: Is It Working For Texas Teens? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/1/04-Tyler

Abstinence: Is It Working For Texas Teens?

If you ask Chelsea Saylors if she's like most Texas teens, she'd say yes. However, according to a new study she's not, because she chooses to abstain from sex.

"That's a personal conviction that I've taken, but beyond that it is something more. I have big dreams for my life and I don't want a mistake I made when I was 17 to effect me 20, 30 years down the line," says Chelsea.

The study conducted by Texas A&M researchers found high school students who are taught abstinence are actually more sexually active after receiving an abstinence education. The study found 28 percent of Texas girls surveyed had sex after an abstinence class. For boys, it jumped to 39 percent.

Chelsea feels her abstinence class has actually helped solidify her beliefs to abstain.

"I think the more emphasis put on abstinence the more it works," she says.

Grace school administrator Jay Ferguson says he knows abstinence programs have worked in his school.

"Kids certainly aren't perfect, but I would say our program enjoys a higher degree of success than others because we deal with that heart issue," says Ferguson.

At Grace they teach abstinence as a belief system, not just something to stay away from.

Dr. George Hurst, who has conducted clinical research on abstinence programs and sits on the TISD committee for sexual health says, "When you teach it as a belief system it is effective."

He has studies to prove it.

'The very opposite occurred over 1996 to 2000 -2001. In 15 year old girls, pregnancy decreased from 5.5 to 4.1," says Dr. Hurst.

Dr. Hurst and Mr. Ferguson says the A&M study is also flawed because it lacked a comparison group. They just hope this study won't lead to people to believe abstinence doesn't work. Because they says girls like Chelsea are proof it does.

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