Yesterday on The PediaBlog, we looked at a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising in the United States. Previously, the CDC pointed to “a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons” for why sexually active teenagers and young adults were more vulnerable to acquiring STD’s than older people:

For some STDs, such as C. trachomatis [chlamydia], adolescent females may have increased susceptibility to infection because of increased cervical ectopy. The higher prevalence of STDs among adolescents also may reflect multiple barriers to accessing quality STD prevention services, including lack of health insurance or ability to pay, lack of transportation, discomfort with facilities and services designed for adults, and concerns about confidentiality.

 

This year, the CDC published new statistics on sexual risk behaviors in teenagers. Data from American high school students surveyed in 2015 show:

  • 41% had ever had sexual intercourse.
  • 30% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these

— 43% did not use a condom the last time they had sex.

— 14% did not use any method to prevent pregnancy.

— 21% had drunk alcohol or used drugs before last sexual intercourse.

  • Only 10% of sexually experienced students have ever been tested for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

 

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), other sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies are consequences of sexual risk behaviors in adolescents:

  • Young people (aged 13-24) accounted for an estimated 22% of all new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2014.
  • Among young people (aged 13-24) diagnosed with HIV in 2014, 80% were gay and bisexual males.
  • Half of the nearly 20 million new STDs reported each year were among young people, between the ages of 15 to 24.
  • Nearly 250,000 babies were born to teen girls aged 15–19 years in 2014.

 

The CDC wants to remind everyone — teenagers and young adults, and parents, too — of these simple facts:

Abstinence from vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse is the only 100% effective way to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy. The correct and consistent use of male latex condoms can reduce the risk of STD transmission, including HIV infection. However, no protective method is 100% effective, and condom use cannot guarantee absolute protection against any STD or pregnancy.

 

Tomorrow on The PediaBlog, we’ll see how risky sexual behaviors in teenagers are impacted when parents are more involved in their lives.

 

(Google Images)