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Last Updated: Monday, 10 May, 2004, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
US virgins urge UK teen celibacy
Silver Ring Thing ring
The silver ring is a constant reminder of the abstinence promise
A group of US virgins and an evangelist are urging British teenagers to abstain from sex before marriage.

The Silver Ring Thing encourages young people to buy a silver ring and pledge to remain celibate.

The scheme has sold 20,000 of the $12 rings to US teenagers and is planning a British tour, preaching the beliefs and selling the rings for 10 each.

It is funded partly by the Bush administration, which is a strong supporter of abstinence.

"The significance of the ring is that it's a constant reminder on the finger of the young person that helps them deal with the temptation that they face every day with becoming sexually active," founder Denny Pattyn told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Abstinence is the only way truly to protect yourself against getting a sexually transmitted disease, especially as a teenager
Denny Pattyn
The Silver Ring Thing

He said asking young people to abstain from sex was prompted by an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases in the US, the UK and around the world among teenagers.

"Abstinence is the only way truly to protect yourself against getting a sexually transmitted disease, especially as a teenager."

The scheme has been run for at least seven years, but research into its effectiveness started only nine months ago.

Results are not due for another two years, Mr Pattyn said.

As well as the federal government funding, the scheme is funded by "individuals in America who want to see abstinence grow", Mr Pattyn said.

The Bush administration has given $120 million to abstinence groups.

The Silver Ring Thing intends to visit London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, and Belfast, as well as Dublin in June.

The puzzle of teenagers and sex
12 Mar 04  |  Magazine
The power of the ring thing
22 Jan 04  |  This World
Chastity pressed on US teens
18 Sep 03  |  Americas

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