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PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION | Decrease in Teens Having Sex, Increase in Condom Use, CDC Study Finds

PUBLIC HEALTH & EDUCATION | Decrease in Teens Having Sex, Increase in Condom Use, CDC Study Finds
[Aug. 29, 2008]

Current high school students are less likely to be sexually active and are more likely to use condoms than students who were in high school in 1991, according to a study published earlier this month in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the New York Times reports.

According to the study, the percentage of high school students in 2007 who had ever had sexual intercourse declined by 12% since 1991, while condom use increased by 33%. In addition, the percentage of high school students in 2007 who were currently sexually active declined by 7% in the same time period, and the percentage of those who had had intercourse with four or more partners declined by 20%, according to the study.

The study did not find significant changes in the prevalence of sexual risk behaviors from 2005 to 2007, which might have contributed to a 34% increase in HIV/AIDS cases among teens ages 15 to 19 from 2003 to 2006. Risky sexual behavior also might have contributed to a 6% increase in gonorrhea among teenagers and an increase in live births (41.9 per 1,000 in 2006 from 40.5 in 2005) among teenage girls, according to the study.

Laura Kann, a scientist in CDC's division of adolescent and school health and a co-author of the report, said that there have been "some real successes over the past 17 years" in sexual behavior among teens but added that health workers and educators "need to renew [their] efforts to delay onset of sexual activity and to increase condom use among kids once they are sexually active" (Bakalar, New York Times, 8/26).