Channel 2 Action News has learned a federal government survey that includes controversial questions about sex for middle and high school students may cost Georgia nearly $2 million in federal funding.
The survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asks children anonymously about their health habits.
However, a spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal said the governor does not feel it is appropriate to ask children about their sexual habits.
“Georgia has the right to not ask 12-year-olds if they've had more than six sexual partners,” spokesman Brian Robinson told Channel 2 political reporter Lori Geary.
“We don’t think a 12-year-old should be asked ‘When did you start your sexual activity?’” Robinson said. “I think Georgians are going to stand with Gov. Deal in this decision.”
The CDC survey includes seven questions about sexual behavior, in addition to questions about suicide, tobacco and drug habits. Questions include, “How old were you when you first had sexual intercourse?”
Starting in 2013, the CDC survey is now tied to federal funding. Opting out of the survey would cost the state nearly $2 million for HIV/AIDS prevention awareness funding.
Parent Adrienne Rushin did not have a problem with the questions.
“I absolutely think they should ask those questions, because they definitely understand what you’re saying, what you’re talking about,” she said.
Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality, told Geary it’s shameful that the state is one of only five refusing to take part in the survey.
“I do think leaders of the state are out of touch with what’s going on. Georgia does have one of the highest HIV infection rates in the country, and we have got to begin to address that,” Graham said.
Georgia students will get the partial survey, according to Robinson. Their version will not include the questions about sexual activity.