N.C. board recommends county abandon abstinence-only education
The Gaston County, N.C., Board of Health this week said it plans to launch a campaign to lower teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates by urging schools in the county to abandon abstinence-only sex education in favor of comprehensive programs that include information on condoms and birth control, The Charlotte Observer reports. Nearly 650 Gaston County residents have been infected with HIV since 1986, about 30% of whom were infected during their teen years. The county also has one of North Carolina's highest teen pregnancy rates. The board opted to stress comprehensive sex education in schools after hearing testimony from five student members of the HIV Education Led by Peers Group, who said the current abstinence-only education policy has not prevented their peers from having sex. "These teenagers are having sex, whether we tell them about abstinence or not," said 17-year-old Angel Putnam, one of the students addressing the board. "These students need the information to make the individual decision about whether to have sex, to make a wiser decision."