12-year-old girls are more likely to have had sex than boys, and teenagers are likely to have had sex with more partners than a decade ago, an Oz study has said.
The study by LaTrobe University's faculty of health sciences researchers found that more than 61 per cent of year 12 girls said they had had sex, compared to 44 per cent of boys of that year.
In a trend the report links to heavier drinking by adolescents, the proportion of sexually active year 12 girls who reported having had sex with three or more partners in the previous year more than doubled to 27 per cent in the decade to 2008.
Among boys, 38 per cent said they had had three or more sexual partners in the year, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The survey of 8800 year 10 and year 12 students in 300 schools around Australia was taken in three snapshots between 1997 and 2008.
The proportion of year 10 boys who had had sex rose slightly from 23 per cent to 27 percent between 1997 and 2008, while for year 10 girls the rise was more significant, up from 16 per cent to 27 percent.
In year 12, the number of boys who reported having had sex dipped slightly from 47 per cent in 1997 to 44 percent in 2008, while the rate for girls rose from 48 per cent to 61 per cent.
The report said the increased numbers of students having multiple sexual partners was significantly higher than that found in a large survey in the US and may be linked to heavier drinking among Australian teenagers.
The study has been published in the latest Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.