NIH Researchers Interview Minors about Sex without Parental Permission

The age of consent in the United States ranges between 16 and 18 years old. Yet a taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health study recruited boys (and girls who identified as boys) as young as 13 to report their sexual behavior on a mobile app without parental consent. The Washington Free Beacon reports:

NIH-funded researchers at Columbia University offer up to $275 to gay and transgender boys, between the ages of 13 and 18, to document their sexual activity on MyPEEPS Mobile, including whether they have “condomless anal sex.” The NIH spent more than $300,000 to develop the app in 2012 and 2013, and $7.9 million since 2016 for Columbia researchers to study the data it collects, according to a government spending database. The app for “young men who have sex with men” provides “interactive games and activities” designed to teach participating teenagers how to minimize risk in their sex lives, according to the research grant and resulting study.

As well as asking minors about their sexual behavior, the researchers conducted in-person follow-up visits. The researchers’ preoccupation with “strategies to manage stigma” is particularly revealing. The insidious assumption here is that it’s perfectly healthy and natural for underage boys (and girls who identify as boys) to have promiscuous and anal sex. And that it’s only the circumstances — e.g., forgoing condom use, drugs and alcohol consumption, or not knowing the HIV status of the sexual partner — that make them vulnerable.

How arrogant these researchers must be to think that they, and not the child’s parents, are best placed to offer moral and practical instruction in the realm of sexuality.


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