Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Abstinence only programmes do not change sexual behaviour, Texas study shows

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 10 February 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:326

Rapid Response:

Safe sex more effective than abstinence

A brief observation among Indian patients comprising both educated as well as illiterate subjects indicate that abstinence education was ill- received by a majority of subjects. Patients who were counselled about the need for safe-sex practices showed better compliance than those who were told to abstain from sex. With greater sexual experimentation among the youth in recent times the advice to abstain from sex leads to under- reporting of premarital sex among teenagers. The advice is taken as a "sermon" and is more likely to be rejected as soon as the subject leaves the consulting room. Therefore, our study finds that it is preferable to advocate protected sexual intercourse whenever possible as against total abstinence among youth.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 February 2005
Rajan TD
Consultant Skin & Sex Transm Diseases, Andheri 0091-22-56982747
Mumbai India Tel: 0091-22-26820114