Federally Funded Obria Prescribes Abstinence To Stop The Spread Of STDs

Inside Obria Medical Clinics, conviction — not condoms — is summoned to stop the spread of chlamydia.

The Christian medical chain, awarded $1.7 million in federal family planning funds for the first time this year, does not offer hormonal birth control or condoms; instead, its doctors and nurses teach patients when they’re likely to be fertile and counsel them in restraint.

Reproductive health care providers have bristled over Obria’s inclusion in a federal program, known as Title X, established to help poor women avoid unwanted pregnancies. But clinics receiving money also are expected to detect, treat and prevent sexually transmitted diseases and HIV, and Obria’s prohibition against condoms means its prevention efforts — whether for single millennials or aging married couples — rest on abstinence.

In its application for federal funding, Obria pledged to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and recognized medical standards for preventing STDs. Used correctly and consistently, condoms are highly effective at preventing transmission of STDs, according to the CDC, a finding echoed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other major medical associations.

But Obria will not advocate or provide condoms. Instead, its staff will “emphasize that avoiding sex is the only 100-percent method to prevent pregnancy and STDs” and teach patients about “high-risk behaviors” and the “risks of using ‘safe-sex’ methods,” according to the group’s application.

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