Teen sex and teen pregnancies in the U.S. are on the decline, while teen use of morning-after pill is on the increase.
There is little explanation to this phenomenon in the new study released by CDC, but further studies could explain what is underpinning sexual behavior in today’s U.S. teens.
Over the past 25 years, the percentage of teen girls, aged 15 to 19, who reported taking the morning-after pill has experienced an increase. 1 out of 5 sexually active girls reported taking the contraceptive. Researchers state that the lax regulations concerning the purchasing of the morning-after pill could be one way to explain it.
Previously, the morning-after pill could not be purchased without a medical prescription. Now, it is easily available to teens over the counter. In 2005, the morning-after pill was an option for just 1 out of 12 teen girls.
The CDC report studied contraceptive use, sexual activity engagement and risks associated with U.S. teens in the age group between 15 and 19.
While the morning-after pill is used by 1 in 5 teen girls, other contraceptive methods have remained largely the same with teens. Condoms are still leading the list, with contraceptive pills following close after. Other contraceptive methods are more rare with U.S. teens.
While not much changed from this point of view over the past 25 years, the study confirms that teens do not engage in sexual activity as much. In 1988, 51 percent of teen girls and 60 percent of teen boys reported having had sex at least once.
In 2005, only approximately 45 percent of both groups reported the same. Yet, from 2011 to 2013, only 44 percent of teen girls reported engaging in sexual activity and 47 percent of teen boys reporting the same.
Of both groups, teenagers aged 15 were less likely to have sex. Only 15 percent of 15-year old teenagers reported having sex at least once.
While there are few studies that could confirm the fluctuation of these percentages over time and most particularly in recent years, some of the factors may be increased awareness levels regarding risks associated with sex, with unprotected sex and with STDs in particular.
Sex education is more prevalent both in the family environment and at school, allowing for open debates on all issues related to sexual activity.
The same factors are believed to have led to a decrease in teen pregnancies over the past 25 years.
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