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SIECUS Releases Report on Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in Alabama

New York, NY – Today, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), in partnership with AIDS Alabama, is pulling back the curtain on failed abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Alabama by releasing a report outlining this federally funded fiasco.  The full report can be found at

“This report covers virtually every aspect of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Alabama,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS.  “Anyone who reads this will be shocked to see the medically inaccurate, fear-based programs that are receiving these funds.”

Since 1998, Alabama has received more than $33 million dollars in funding for  abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  In Fiscal Year 2007, the state received approximately $4.75 million, $953,172 of which was from Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funds.  At the same time, the HIV, STD and teen birth rates in Alabama are far above the national average.

“The South has become ground zero for the HIV epidemic in the United States, and Alabama is no exception,” said Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama.  “With the rates of new infections of HIV and STDs continuing to climb, Alabama cannot afford to continue with these failed policies; we need dedicated funding to prevent HIV and STDs.  You can pay a little now or pay a whole lot more later.  Most importantly, we need to provide our young people with comprehensive sex education so that they can avoid high-risk behaviors that can lead to STD or HIV infection.   We do them a potentially life-threatening disservice if we withhold this critical information.” 

Alabama also uses some of the most biased and inaccurate abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula available to teach its young people.  For example, Why kNOw, a curriculum used in Alabama by Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage sub-grantees, relies on messages of fear and shame. At one point it states about sex outside of marriage: “WARNING! Going on this ride could change your life forever; result in poverty, heartache, disease, and even DEATH.” It goes on to say that many “will board this ride and come out losers.” 

Currently there is no federal funding stream dedicated to comprehensive sexuality education programs.  Since 1982, however, the U.S. government has spent over $1.5 billion on unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  Of that money, over $800 million has been spent during the current administration.  Under the leadership of President Bush there has been a continued growth in spending for these programs with more than $175 million allocated in Fiscal Year 2007 alone.  These programs are prohibited from discussing contraceptives except in the context of failure rates and have never been proven effective in promoting long-term benefits for young people.

“Alabama should  stop accepting overly restrictive money from the federal government, and  demonstrate a commitment to helping its young people make the best decisions about their lives and their health.  Title V abstinence-only-until marriage funds have been providing biased, inaccurate information for too long, in Alabama and across the country.  Refusing these funds is what public health demands and what the American people want,” concluded Smith.

For more information contact Patrick Malone at (212)819-9770 ext. 316 or  The full Alabama Report can be found at