CDC: Lower rate of teen sexual activity and higher rate of contraception use

A new report by the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed statistics showing a decrease in teen sexual activity as well as an increase in contraceptive use between this generation of teens and last. The study focused on teens ages 15 to 19 between 2011 and 2013. Compared to 1988, the teen sexual activity rate has decreased by 22 and 14 percent, respectively, to males and females. The decrease in sexual activity corresponds with the steady decline in teen pregnancy over the course of the last 25 years.
A main component, experts are saying, to the decrease in sexual activity has come from an increase in sex education and awareness. Laura Lindberg, of the Guttmacher Institute, cites the HIV epidemic as a spark to the decrease in sexual activity by starting more open discussions about sex. Discussing sex and its consequences became a more normalized and necessary and people couldn’t shy away from it because of the consequences of not making smart choices. As a result, kids were exposed to sex-ed much earlier in their lives and the exposure has led to smarter choices.
Another statistic involved in the CDC’s study was focused on the increase in contraceptive use, especially emergency contraception. As of 2013 age restrictions on purchasing emergency contraceptives were eliminated. Before then, anyone under 18 could not purchase pills such as Plan B. In addition to age limits, as of recently, clinician prescriptions were also eliminated as requirements to purchase emergency contraception which ultimately increased access to sexually active teens. When looking at the statistics, in 2002 only about 8% of teens were using emergency contraceptives. Fast-forward to 2013 and statistics show nearly 22% of teens using emergency contraception. In terms of contraceptives as a whole, “By 2013 9% of female teens used some type of birth control for the first time they had sex, while 84% of male teens used a birth control method- most often a condom- the first time they had sex.”
The increase in contraceptive use and decrease in sexual activity truly demonstrate the positive power of sex-ed, awareness, and preventative measures. One component of birth control that experts and doctors don’t have much on yet are Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) that are as long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). LARCs have the highest success rate of all contraceptives (less than 1% failure) but many women don’t have the proper information on them to take advantage of them. In the coming years IUD’s are likely to becoming prominent players in the contraceptive and family planning community through increased education and awareness on their use and availability.
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