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CDC: More Teenage Boys Using Condoms

Survey Also Shows Gradual Decline in Teen Birth Rate
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Oct. 12, 2010 -- More teenagers are using a condom -- by itself or along with a partner's hormonal contraceptive -- according to a new teen sex survey from the CDC.

The survey shows sexual activity and contraceptive use among U.S. teenagers have remained relatively stable over the last decade. But condoms gained among teenage boys as the preferred method.

Also, the teen birth rate has resumed a gradual decline that was briefly interrupted in 2005-2007.

"The slight increase from 2005 to 2007 generated concern that progress over the past two decades in reducing teen pregnancies could have stalled," researcher Gladys Martinez, PhD, of the CDC's division of vital statistics, and colleagues write in their report. "However, data for 2008 and 2009 show that the teen birth rate again declined from the rate in 2007."

The study showed the teen birth rate for girls aged 15-19 was 39.1 births per 1,000 females in 2009. That's 37% lower than its peak of 61.8 per 1,000 in 1991. Researchers say that is a historic low for the U.S., but still higher than many other developed countries, including Canada.

Contraceptive Use by Teens

The nationwide survey was based on face-to-face interviews with 4,662 teenagers between 2006 and 2010.

Overall, about 43% of never-married teenage girls and 42% of never-married teenage boys reported having sexual intercourse at least once. Researchers say those levels of sexual activity have not changed significantly since 2002.

Contraceptive use among teenagers has also changed little since 2002, with 78% of teenage girls and 85% of boys saying they used a method of birth control the first time they had sex.

The most popular contraceptive among teens remains the condom. But researchers found an increase among teen boys in the use of condoms alone and in combination with a partner's hormonal conceptive.

Eighty percent of teenage boys said they used a condom the first time they had sex. That's an increase of 9% since 2002. Sixteen percent said they used a condom in combination with a partner's hormonal method, a 6% increase.

The survey also shows the use of non-pill hormonal contraceptives -- such as injectables, the contraceptive patch and ring, and emergency contraception -- are also becoming more common among teenage girls.

For example, the percentage of teen girls who reported using non-pill types of hormonal contraceptives the first time they had sexual intercourse tripled, from 2% in 2002 to 6% in 2006-2010.

In addition, 14% of teenage girls reported ever using emergency contraception. Ten percent said they used the contraceptive patch and 5% had used the ring. Overall the rate of use of birth control pills and hormonal injectables did not change from 2002 to 2006-2010.

Sexual Activity Rates

Although sexual activity rates among teenage girls didn't change much from 2002 to 2006-2010, researchers say there has been a gradual long-term decline in the percentage of teenage girls who are sexually experienced over the last 20 years.

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