Disease-Specific Sexual Abstinence User Rates: The Role of Science in Policy Making

  • Haignere C
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This article offers an innovative and relatively easy-to-use Bernoulli relative risk formula for calculating the annual probability of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) under conditions of maximum possible risk. Developed by Steven D. Pinkerton, this calculation indicates that abstinence is probably most effective when the probability of STD transmission per contact is extremely low, as is the case for heterosexual HIV transmission. Pinkerton’s calculation was explained by comparing it with the existing data on condom use failure and how this calculation is used with abstinence education programs in comparison with condom promotion programs. Its findings suggest that 100% abstinence compliance may be necessary to obtain anywhere near the comparable STD protection achieved by consistent, correct condom usage. However, Pinkerton cautions that this statistical calculation is new and untested. Thus, more research is urgently needed using actual programs with detailed data on the number of sexual partners, number of acts per partner, and STD and pregnancy prevalence data, where available. - See more at: http://www.popline.org/node/174357#sthash.qc1DHNQ5.dpuf

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  • Clara S. Haignere

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