Mountain Dew or Clorox – What’ll It Be?

As you may already know, I am strongly opposed to abstinence-only “education”. For those who need clarification, this does not mean that I oppose teaching abstinence; just abstinence only until marriage without any comprehensive sex education to back it up.

It doesn’t work. Instead of being horny but equipped to deal with it, the kids on the receiving end of this “education” just end up horny and ignorant. As a Texan, I can tell you that it’s a dangerous combination.

And now we have yet another example of the kind of nonsense that is circulated among teenagers and accepted as fact in the absence of comprehensive sex education:

Fla. Teens Believe Drinking Bleach Will Prevent HIV

Some Teens Also Believe Mountain Dew Will Stop Pregnancy

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida teens who believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy have prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.

Another myth is that Florida teens also believe that smoking marijuana will prevent a person from getting pregnant, Local 6 reported.

State lawmakers said the myths are spreading because of Florida’s abstinence-only sex education, Local 6 reported.

They are proposing a bill that would require a more comprehensive approach, the report said.

It would still require teaching abstinence but students would also learn about condoms and other methods of birth control and disease prevention.

Gee! It almost sounds like these kids could do with some actual education and, I dunno, some responsible guidance from the adults who have been entrusted with their safety and wellbeing. I’m just blueskying it there, but I think that might help.

And while I’m on the subject again, I want to mention something I’m not sure that I covered before:

Regarding condoms, abstinence-only programs teach what they call “human use reality rates”, which actually means lying about condoms’ effectiveness and exaggerating their failure rates. Here is what the Centers for Disease Control have to say about it:

CDC Condom Info

The proper and consistent use of latex condoms when engaging in sexual intercourse–vaginal, anal, or oral–can greatly reduce a person’s risk of acquiring or transmitting STDs, including HIV infection. In fact, recent studies provide compelling evidence that latex condoms are highly effective in protecting against HIV infection when used properly for every act of intercourse.

Latex condoms are highly effective when used consistently and correctly– new studies provide additional evidence that condoms work.

[…]

MYTHS ABOUT CONDOMS

There continues to be misinformation and misunderstanding about condom effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the following updated information to address some common myths about condoms. This information is based on findings from recent epidemiologic, laboratory, and clinical studies.

[…]

Most of the breakage is due to incorrect usage rather than poor condom quality. Using oil-based lubricants can weaken latex, causing the condom to break. In addition, condoms can be weakened by exposure to heat or sunlight or by age, or they can be torn by teeth or fingernails.

[…]

Three prospective studies in developed countries indicated that condoms are unlikely to break or slip during proper use.

[emphasis mine]

Abstinence-only programs do not teach teens that the increased failure rates for condoms are the result of incorrect usage, but instead present them as “human use reality rates”, a term used exclusively in abstinence-only programs. The message they want to send is that condoms are ineffective.

This does not decrease the likelihood that teens will have sex. It does, however, decrease the likelihood that they will protect themselves when they do.

ACLU – What the Research Shows

Studies show that most abstinence-only-until-marriage programs do not help teens delay having sex, and some show evidence that these programs actually deter teens who become sexually active from protecting themselves from unintended pregnancy or STDs.

Telling teenagers not to have sex has never and never will stop them. If it did, you wouldn’t be reading this post. Teens have sex regardless of how often they’re told not to, despite the risks. Deliberately withholding potentially life-saving information from them is irresponsible, unethical and inhumane.

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