‘Significant’ Decrease in Sexual Experience Among Teenagers; Increase in Condom Use, Study Says
The proportion of U.S. teenagers who are sexually experienced has decreased "significantly," while condom use has increased, according to a report published in the Aug. 11 edition of CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the Washington Times reports. Nancy Brener of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health and colleagues used data from eight national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys conducted by CDC, which surveyed about 11,000 to 16,200 high school students in public and private schools in the 50 states and the District of Columbia (Howard Price, Washington Times, 8/11). High school students typically are between ages 15 and 18, according to Reuters (Bigg, Reuters, 8/10). The report finds that the proportion of high school students who are sexually experienced decreased by 13% from 1991 to 2005. The researchers also found that the proportion of respondents who had four or more sexual partners had decreased by 24% in that time period and that there was a 9% decline among respondents who said they currently were sexually active (Brener et al., MMWR, 8/11). Current sexual activity was defined as having had sexual intercourse in the previous three months. The report also finds that the percentage of students who said they had ever had sexual intercourse decreased from 54.1% in 1991 to 46.8% in 2005 (Washington Times, 8/11). In addition, the report finds that among sexually active students, condom use during their most recent sexual act increased by 36% from 46.2% in 1991 to 62.8% 2005 (MMWR, 8/11). "The overall decrease in HIV-related sexual risk behaviors among high school students discussed in this report corresponds to a similar decrease in gonorrhea, pregnancy and birthrates among adolescents," the report says, concluding that improvements in students' health outcomes "likely resulted from the combined contributions of parents and families, schools, youth-serving community organizations, health care providers, the media, government agencies and the youth themselves," as well as access to better educational interventions.
Minority Students' Sexual Activity
The researchers also found that the proportion of black teens who are sexually experienced decreased from 81.4% in 1991 to 60.8% in 2001 but has "leveled off" at 67.6% in 2005. "Efforts need to be intensified among black students, who are more likely than white and Hispanic students to report HIV-related sexual risk behaviors," according to a CDC release (Washington Times, 8/11). The prevalence of sexual experience among Latino students did not significantly decrease between 1991 and 2005, the report finds. The report finds that in 1991, 53.1% of Latino teens reported ever having had sexual intercourse, compared with 51.0% in 2005. In 1991, 16.8% of Latino teens reported having had more than four sexual partners compared with 15.9 in 2005, according to the report (MMWR, 8/11). The authors wrote that additional measures must be aimed at decreasing risky sexual behaviors among Latino students (Washington Times, 8/11). The report was published in advance of the XVI International AIDS Conference, which starts Sunday (Reuters, 8/10).
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