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Abstinence not the only form of safe sex

UNITED STATES: The US surgeon-general has unexpectedly released a report urging American public schools to offer comprehensive sex education, rather than teach abstinence alone, to prevent unwanted pregnancies or sexually-transmitted diseases. The report by David Satcher also called for more education about homosexuality.

Conservatives immediately went on the attack. However, President Bush, said that although "the best way to prevent pregnancy, the only sure-fire way, is through abstinence, and that's the best way to avert disease as well", it was a matter of local rather than national decision-making.

Dr Satcher said teaching abstinence alone had proved ineffective, since 12 million Americans are infected with STDs each year (including 40,000 with HIV) and nearly half of pregnancies are unwanted. He said anti-gay attitudes put gay youths at risk of depression and suicide. Full story

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