I’m afraid that two published reviews of the literature on studies on sex education for adolescents and teens done by Kristen Underhill, Don Operario, and Paul Montgomery at the Centre for Evidence-Based Intervention at the University of Oxford ( here)and (here ) don’t tell us much more than we knew before.
Although the authors report that there are few if any reports that give biological data or actual pregnancy and STD (including HIV) infection rates, the first study found no significance in behavior in “abstinence only” sex education compared with “usual care” in the community. (We’re not sure what the “usual care” at those schools is, however.)
In the second study, authors did a review focusing on reports on sex education in “high income” societies, comparing “abstinence only” (which are defined as not promoting condom use) and “abstinence plus” (those which emphasize abstinence but promote condom use if you’re going to have sex). report that there is a significant difference in decrease of “HIV risk behavior,” but no evidence that teens have sex later, actually contract STD’s less often, or have fewer pregnancies.
Neither of these studies tell us that abstinence based sex education does not work. I’m afraid that the only thing they do tell us is that there are factors we are not measuring and that our young people are engaging in risky behavior.
Hat Tip to “Pure Pedantry.”