amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Joins Call For Congress to Review Abstinence-Only Programs

February 1, 2005—In a letter to Congressional leaders dated January 28, amfAR, along with over 200 other organizations, called for a full and immediate review of the content of federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Concern about the curricula of these taxpayer-funded programs arose after a recent report prepared for Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) exposed many errors in the content of the educational materials, including a claim that “exposure to sweat and tears [are] risk factors for HIV transmission.” amfAR and other signatories take the position that providing young people with scientifically inaccurate information is irresponsible, dangerous, and clouds their ability to make educated decisions about their health.

The letter to Congress endorsed a statement made by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) calling for greater oversight of the abstinence-only curricula. During an appearance December 5 on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Senator Frist declared that it is the responsibility of the U.S. government to ensure that all federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are fully reviewed. The letter urged lawmakers to hold a hearing on the issue and to halt the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on programs with unproven effectiveness.