Hawaii State Profile
The Department of Health and community-based organizations in Hawaii received $1,012,794 in federal funds for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs in Fiscal Year 2007. 1
Hawaii’s education policy states that, “in order to help students make decisions that promote healthy behaviors, the Department of Education shall instruct students that abstentionfrom sexual intercourse is the surest and most responsible way to prevent unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases [STDs] such as HIV/AIDS, and consequent emotional distress.” The policy specifies that programs shall help students remain abstinent, help currently sexually active students become abstinent, and “provide youth with information on and skill development in the use of protective devices and methods for the purpose of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.”
Hawaii’s education policy further states that birth control devices may be discussed during human reproduction studies; however, “the distribution of condoms and other prophylactic devices to students shall be prohibited in the classroom, on the school campus, or at any school-related activities.”
Hawaii’s Health Content Standards also state that sexual health should be addressed and tells schools which content areas are to be covered, but does not give curricula guidelines or suggest curricula, and does not go into detail as to what should be discussed.
Hawaii does not require parental permission for students to participate in sexuality or HIV/AIDS education nor does it say whether parents or guardians can remove their children from such classes.
See Hawaii Board of Education Policies 2100, 2110, and 2245.
Legislation to Allow for Rapid HIV Testing
House Concurrent Resolution 293, introduced in March 2007, urges the Governor to allow rapid HIV testing in the state. The current Hawaii Administrative Rules outline strict requirements for the use of rapid HIV testing within the state, making it difficult to use in Hawaii. The resolution explains that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other major federal public health agencies strongly support rapid HIV testing since it increases awareness of HIV serostatus. HCR 293 was passed by the House and was sent to the Senate for debate where it was referred to the Senate Committee on Health.
Bills to Mandate Sexual Health Education in State-Funded Entities
House Bill 464 and Senate Bill 1117, introduced in January 2007, would mandate that any recipient of state funding offering sexual health education must provide medically accurate, factual information that is age-appropriate. In addition, state-funded entities must provide education on both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. SB 1117 passed in the Senate and was sent to the House of Representatives, where it became a substitute for HB 464. As of March 2007, SB 1117 resides in the House Committees on Education, Health, and the Judiciary.
The bills closely resemble House Bill 2079 and Senate Bill 2172 which were introduced in January 2006. Like the newer bills, the 2006 versions would have required “any recipient of state funding that provides information or offers programs regarding sex, family planning, pregnancy counseling, or sexually transmitted diseases” to provide medically and factually accurate information that is age-appropriate. They would have also required that recipients teach about both abstinence and contraception. These bills defined both “factual information” and “medically accurate” information. Both of these bills failed to move out of committee.
SIECUS is not aware of any recent events regarding sexuality education in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Department of Health received $162,787 in federal Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding in Fiscal Year 2007. The Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage grant requires states to provide three state-raised dollars or the equivalent in services for every four federal dollars received. The state match may be provided in part or in full by local groups. In Hawaii, the match is provided through both direct state revenues and in-kind services from the state’s single sub-grantee. (The Department of Health could not determine the exact amount of amount of direct state funds used for the match.)
There is one Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage sub-grantee in the state, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hawaii. The organization used the funding to hold community events on each of Hawaii’s largest islands. These events included teen dances where the organization collected assessment data from participants, asking young people about their knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs related to abstinence. The individuals who participated received incentives.6
The events themselves focused on abstinence and used materials from SMART Moves, a curriculum developed by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America that targets young people ages 6–15. It includes Smart Kids to help kids ages 6–9 year olds develop self awareness, decision making, and interpersonal skills; Start Smart to help preteens identify and resist peer, social, and media pressures to use drugs and become sexually involved; Stay Smart to help teenagers develop social, resistance, assertiveness, problem-solving, and decision-making skills; and Smart Parents to augment the sessions and teach parents about adolescent drug use and sexuality. SIECUS reviewed Smart Move and identified it as an “Abstinence Program without Fear.”
Community-Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) and Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA) Grantees
There are two CBAE grantees in Hawaii: Catholic Charities of Honolulu and Maui Youth and Family Services. There are no AFLA grantees in Hawaii.
Catholic Charities of Honolulu runs the abstinence-only-until-marriage program “Try Wait!”7 This program is offered to public and private school students in grades 7 through 12 and includes eight interactive lessons.8 Try Wait! uses Choosing the Best PATH, an abstinence-only-until-marriage curriculum that SIECUS reviewed.9 We found that it provides endless information on the negative consequences of premarital sexual activity and utilizes a variety of tactics to suggest that teens should feel guilty, embarrassed, and ashamed of sexual behavior. For example, Choosing the Best PATH asks students, “How does being sexually active as a teen affect how a person feels about himself or herself?” The suggested answer is, “Can feel sad about losing virginity, loss of self-respect, blames self for getting pregnant or contracting an STD.” It goes on to say, “Sexual activity also can lead to the trashing of a person’s reputation, resulting in the loss of friends.”10
At the conclusion of the sessions, Try Wait! gives students the option of signing virginity pledge cards.11 Research has found that under certain conditions these pledges may help some adolescents delay sexual intercourse. When they work, pledges help this select group of adolescents delay the onset of sexual intercourse for an average of 18 months—far short of marriage. Researchers found that pledges only worked when taken by a small group of students. Pledges taken by a whole class were ineffective. More importantly, the studies also found that those young people who took a pledge were one-third less likely to use contraception when they did become sexually active than their peers who had not pledged. These teens are therefore more vulnerable to the risks of unprotected sexual activity such as unintended pregnancy and STDs, including HIV/AIDS. Further research has confirmed that although some students who take pledges delay intercourse, ultimately they are equally as likely to contract an STD as their non-pledging peers. The study also found that STD rates were higher in communities where a significant proportion (over 20 percent) of the young people had taken virginity pledges.12
Catholic Charities of Honolulu also provides a two-hour parent workshop.
Federal and State Funding for Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Programs in FY 2007