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Improvements in Teen Sex and Contraceptive Use Stalled

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 General News J E 4

Statement from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

WASHINGTON, June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Declines in teen sex and improvements in contraceptive use among sexually experienced teens remained essentially unchanged between 2002 and 2006-08, according to data released today by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. The new report provides national estimates of sexual activity and contraceptive use among teens aged 15-19 and is based on the latest round of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). The report notes that about four in ten never-married teens (42% of girls and 43% of boys) have had sex at least once – statistically unchanged from 2002, the last time the NSFG collected these data.

In response to the new data, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released the following statement from CEO Sarah Brown:

"This new report shows that the nation's progress on teen sex, contraceptive use, pregnancy, and childbearing has stalled and is in need of a jump start. Moreover, the report shows that about one in five unmarried teens who have had sex say they would be pleased with a pregnancy. This finding helps to explain why three in ten girls become pregnant by age 20 in the United States. Clearly, we have spent too much time arguing about abstinence versus contraception and not nearly enough time focusing on the critical issue of motivation and basic values.

"The report also provides a mixed bag of results regarding teen contraceptive use. The good news is that many sexually experienced teens are using contraception. The bad news is they are not using it consistently enough. We need some straight talk to teens here: Unless you use contraception every time you have sex, you are seeking pregnancy. 'Most of the time' just isn't good enough."

Findings from the NCHS report:

  • About four in ten never-married teens (42% of girls and 43% of boys) have ever had sex: This is not statistically different than the proportion of teens who had ever had sex in 2002 (46% of girls and 46% of boys).
  • About three in ten teens (31% of girls and 29% of boys) say they have had sex in the past three months.
  • Nearly eight in ten teen girls (79%) and nine in ten teen boys (87%) used a method of contraception the first time they had sex.
  • More than eight in ten never-married teen girls (84%) and more than nine in ten never-married teen boys (93%) who have had sex in the past three months used a method of contraception the last time they had sex.
  • Although teen contraceptive use overall remained essentially unchanged between 2002 and 2006-08, there was a statistically significant increase in condom use at first sex among teen boys between 2002 (71%) and 2006-2008 (82%). Dual use of contraception at first sex also increased significantly among teen boys (from 11% to 19%).
  • 22% of sexually experienced never-married teen girls and 24% of sexually experienced never-married teen boys would be either a little pleased or very pleased if they or their partner got pregnant now (compared to 18% and 24% respectively in 2002).
  • Teen girls who first have sex with a male partner three or more years older are far more likely to describe sex as unwanted (13%) than those who have had sex with a partner who was younger or the same age (4%).
  • The children of teen mothers remain far more likely to become teen parents themselves (22%) than those whose mother delayed childbearing until after age 20 (9%).

Visit The National Campaign's website—TheNationalCampaign.org—for more information and to read the full report.

About The National Campaign. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families. Our specific strategy is to prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults. We support a combination of responsible values and behavior by both men and women and responsible policies in both the public and private sectors. If we are successful, child and family well-being will improve. There will be less poverty, more opportunities for young men and women to complete their education or achieve other life goals, fewer abortions, and a stronger nation.

SOURCE The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy



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