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 most misleading title, don't you think Dr. Rajan? Safe sex is "more effective" at nothing except spreading disease and causing psychological damage.

What you REALLY meant to say was that programmes encouraging safe sex had more success in achieving their goal (ie. sex with a condom, etc) than those encouraging abstinence had achieving their goal (ie. no sex at all). I wonder how the two routes compared in terms of pregnancy, STI transmission, psychological hurt, etc etc...

I also find it rather worrying that Dr. Rajan seems to see "protected sexual intercourse" and "abstinence" as mutually exclusive, and that we must choose one over the other. This is, quite simply, a very bad idea; rather, I feel we have to give children the pros and cons of "safe sex" (which it sometimes isn't) and show them in a "non-preachy" way that abstinence is often the best option.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 February 2005
Jamie S Robertson
Intercalating Medical Student
University of Glasgow, G12