Sexual health experts on Friday defended their federally funded research at a briefing to respond to criticisms by some members of Congress that such studies shouldn't be supported with tax dollars, Health Behavior News Service reports. "Silence about sex will equal death, because it won't allow us to take care of the people who need [to be taken care of]," said University of California, Los Angeles, researcher Thomas Coates. Coates and several other researchers discussed their studies, which focus on sexual behavior and HIV infection, the importance of sex in healthy marriages, and the biology of sexual arousal, which might someday provide insight into criminal acts such as rape and sexual abuse.
The briefing was sponsored by the Coalition to Protect Research, which opposes government funding restrictions on sexual health studies. Federal funding of sexual health research has come under fire from Republican U.S. representatives Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mark Souder of Indiana, who have urged investigations into several studies supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.