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Former abstinence educator blasts “unsound” teen STD study

.- The former state director of the Colorado Abstinence Education Program has attacked the media coverage of a recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) study about sexually transmitted diseases in teenage girls as “scientifically flawed, medically inaccurate and politically skewed.”

She also criticized the CDC study itself for following a scientifically unsound model.

In an opinion piece in the March 19 edition of the Rocky Mountain News, Carla Adams, former director of Colorado’s federally-funded abstinence program, wrote that Planned Parenthood, Yahoo News, and “national experts” used the release of a CDC report to “create a propaganda war” blaming abstinence education for the increase in STDs.

The CDC recently released data from a 2004 study suggesting that one in four girls in the United States between the ages of 14 and 19 has a sexually transmitted disease.

“These are not new findings,” Adams said.  “These data are consistent with more than a decade of findings.”

Adams claimed the CDC study was not a “scientifically sound model.”  She said that although the CDC had disallowed some Colorado risk behavior data because the reports did not achieve a minimum of 1,000 randomly selected respondents, “the reported CDC study used a sample size of 838 self-selecting participants and is being reported as a reflection of more than 3.2 million young women nationwide.”

Some anti-abstinence arguments were also flawed, according to Adams.  If condoms effectively combated STD infections, she argued, the increase of condom use nationally should have reduced the rates of STD infection.  “This has not happened,” she said.

“There is no epidemiologically sound evidence to support the assertion that condoms reduce the risk of acquiring these STDs,” Adams said, citing a National Institute of Health meta-analysis.

Adams argued that statistics showed the effectiveness of abstinence education in Colorado.  “Perhaps it is time to stop throwing stones and begin looking at strategic ways to support adolescents in developing skills to delay onset of sexual activity,” Adams said.

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