Abstinence Education: Assessing the Accuracy and Effectiveness of Federally Funded Programs

GAO-08-664T Published: Apr 23, 2008. Publicly Released: Apr 23, 2008.
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Among the efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies, the agency provides funding to states and organizations that offer abstinence-until-marriage education. GAO was asked to testify on the oversight of federally funded abstinence-until-marriage education programs. This testimony is primarily based on Abstinence Education: Efforts to Assess the Accuracy and Effectiveness of Federally Funded Programs, GAO-07-87 (Oct. 3, 2006). In this testimony, GAO discusses efforts by (1) HHS and states to assess the scientific accuracy of materials used in abstinence-until-marriage education programs and (2) HHS, states, and researchers to assess the effectiveness of abstinence-until-marriage education programs. GAO also discusses a Public Health Service Act requirement regarding medically accurate information about condom effectiveness. GAO focused on the three main federally funded abstinence-until-marriage programs and reviewed documents and interviewed HHS officials in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Office of Population Affairs (OPA). To update certain information, GAO contacted officials from ACF and OPA.

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