At the end of July, the Department of Health and Human Services announced their funding agendas for the comprehensive sex education program PREP (Personal Responsibility Education Program) and Title V (an abstinence-only education program). HHS will provide states with $55 million of funding for PREP and $50 million for Title V each year for five years. States can apply for either of the funding plans, both of which originated from the new health care reform initiatives.
Although organizations like PP are thrilled with the revolutionary and comprehensive PREP programming, we are also disappointed that the current administration will continue to appease staunch conservatives with abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that have been proven ineffective time and time again. Without the necessary information, youth are left without resources or answers and are more subject to risky sexual behaviors that can lead to unwanted pregnancy and harmful or even life-threatening diseases.
Comprehensive education programs that are age-appropriate and medically accurate make sense. PREP will arm young people with holistic information so that they can make personal decisions, which for many will be abstinence. These programs are supported by more than 100 scientific and medical groups because of their effectiveness. By funding useless and dangerous abstinence only-plans like Title V, we are literally throwing away funds instead of using them to support and educate our youth on healthy, safe sexual decisions.
James Wagoner, the President of Advocates for Youth (an organization that supports comprehensive sex ed) responded, "Unless the ideological abstinence-only-until-marriage program is finally jettisoned by Congress, these short term fixes will be nothing more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic," a.k.a. fruitless! It is critical that Congress stops throwing away funds to programs that are clearly not working so that the money can best serve young people when they really need it.
What do you think about HHS funding for PREP and Title V? Please share your opinion with us. Be a part of the conversation!