It appears that teenagers these days are actually smarter than in generations’ past. A report from the U.S. CDC shows that the amount of high school kids having sex has dropped in the last 20 years.
The data is centered on a questionnaire provided to thousands of 9th – 12th-grade students in 29 states. The percentage of students having sex was 53 percent in 1995. In 2005, that number dropped to 47 percent. In 2015, the percentage was 41 percent.
This is good news, as it means fewer teenagers are having sex or engaging in dangerous sexual behaviors like sleeping with more than one person or not using birth control. Teens that engage in these behaviors are at a higher risk of becoming pregnant or being diagnosed with a sexually-transmitted disease.
Zucker Hillside Hospital Psychiatry Director of Child and Adolescent Dr. Victor Formari said the results are promising, meaning they are learning about STDs and how to prevent them. He said from his outlook, the education about STD infections and the difficulties one has to take care of a baby so young has impacted their behavior in a positive way.
The statistics show that African-American teenagers are more likely to be sexually active than white or Hispanic teenagers. The drop in the sexual behavior was seen more among Hispanic and African-American teenagers.
The percentage of kids having sex did rise. For example, 21 percent of 9th grade were having sex whereas it was 27 percent of 9th-grade boys. By the time they got to 12th grade, the percentage had risen to 57 percent for girls and 59 percent for boys.
The CDC says the changes are the result of higher awareness of sexual health – social media, Internet, better education funding and more money spent on STD prevention. There’s a lot of evidence that backs up the claim that talking about sex in school is helping. For example, teaching students not to have sex means they’re less likely to use condoms when they do, resulting in STDs or unwanted pregnancies.
Written by Mark Riegel, MD
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