Resolution on Research on Sexual Behavior

Whereas, our nation lacks some of the basic understanding of human sexual behavior necessary to develop effective programs to prevent unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV infection; and

Whereas, limiting behavioral science and prevention research will result in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV infection and the loss of lives; and

Whereas, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently announced that he would cancel the funding for this research in response to concerns expressed by conservative political groups; and

Whereas, the HHS Secretary has prevented NIH from conducting a national survey of sexual behavior known as the Survey of Health and AIDS Risk Prevalence (SHARP) for over the past four years due to conservative political pressure; and

Whereas, a recent panel convened by HHS recommended the need to insulate NIH from politics; and

Whereas, federally funded research has profited by the peer-review process at the National Institute of Health (NIH); and

Whereas, the actions of the Secretary pose a major threat to peer reviewed research in the United States;


Therefore, be it resolved that the American Psychological Association:

  1. Call upon the Secretary of HHS to reverse his position and continue funding of the adolescent sexual behavior study, and

  2. Call upon the Secretary of HHS to promptly approve funding for the SHARP and direct NIH to proceed with their study forthwith,

  3. Oppose any Congressional or Administration efforts to restrict federally funded research on sexual behavior; and

  4. Protest in the strongest possible terms the threats posed by this action to peer-reviewed research at NIH. 

August 1991