New CDC Study Begs questions: Why do STD rates rise despite increased contraceptive use among teens?
Today, the CDC released a new study, Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth which indicates good and bad news regarding teen sexual activity. The good news found in the report data indicates there continues to be an increase in the number of teens that are not having sex.
“When the numbers show that 73% of girls and 72% of boys ages 15-17 are choosing to abstain, it is clear that the abstinence message in the Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) approach is not only resonating, but also making a difference in the lives of youth,” stated Valerie Huber, Executive Director of the National Abstinence Education Association (NAEA).
The troubling news is that STD rates for teens continue to increase despite the fact that, as the report shows, condom use among teens has increased since 2002.
While teens comprise only 25% of the population, they bear the burden of 50% of all new cases of STDs. Notably, girls ages 15-19, have the highest rates of chlamydia. This troubling statistic overlaps the timeframe when most teens receive sex education instruction. Ms. Huber added, “More teens are waiting to have sex, but those who aren’t are not as protected as they think they are. We must ask if our teens are getting incomplete information regarding what will keep them truly ‘safe.’ If condom use is increasing among teens and yet STD rates continue to rise, teens may be taking sexual risks because they have been taught that condoms offer adequate protection from the possible consequences of teen sex, when such is obviously not the case.”
NAEA encourages the Obama administration to rethink policies regarding sex education.
“In light of the data found in this report, we need a dramatic change in our sex education policies. The Sexual Risk Avoidance message found in abstinence education programs must be supported in order to continue to reinforce the healthy choices teens are making. In addition, we must examine the connection between increased condom use and rising STD rates among teens. In an administration that professes to embrace science, these findings beg serious questions that need to be addressed with objectivity and for the health of our youth,” stated Ms. Huber.
NAEA is a professional association representing organizations and individuals who support a priority on risk avoidance through abstinence education. NAEA members serve students across the nation. For more information, visit the NAEA website:www.theNAEA.org and www.abstinenceworks.org.