CDC Releases New Report on American Teens and Sex: Here Are 4 Things You Need to Know

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(Photo: Reuters)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Thursday regarding issues surrounding American teenagers and sexual activity.

Titled "Sexual Activity and Contraceptive Use Among Teenagers in the United States, 2011–2015," the report was authored by Joyce C. Abma, Ph.D., and Gladys M. Martinez, Ph.D., of the Division of Vital Statistics.

Here are four things you need to know about the CDC report, including a trend in the rate of sexual activity, the use of emergency contraception, and racial disparities.

Decline in Sexual Activity

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(Photo: Reuters/St Old)Youths from the Pure Love Alliance march in the streets of Philadelphia, July 29, 2000, to promote sexual abstinence and fidelity as a way to prevent teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. The Republican National Convention will begin July 31 and continue to Aug. 3.

The newly released CDC report found that sexual activity among unmarried teenagers in the U.S. continues to be considerably lower than it was over a generation ago.

From 2011–2015, the report found that 42.4 percent of never-married teenage girls and 44.2 percent of never-married teenage boys had sexual intercourse at least once.

While noted as being similar to numbers from the early 2000s, the percentages were still a sharp decline from 1988, when 60 percent of never-married teenage boys and 51 percent of never-married teenage girls had sexual intercourse at least once.

Increase in Emergency Contraception Use

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(Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)A Plan B One-Step emergency contraceptive box is seen in New York, April 5, 2013. A federal judge on Friday ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make "morning-after" emergency contraception pills available without a prescription to all girls of reproductive age.

The CDC report noted an increase in the use of emergency contraception among sexually active American teenagers.

When comparing data from 2002 and data from 2011–2015, the authors found that use of emergency contraception increased from 8.1 percent to 22.9 percent.

"From 2002 to 2011–2015, virtually all sexually experienced female teenagers had used some method of contraception, and this increased across these time periods, from 97.7 percent in 2002 to 99.4 percent in 2011–2015," noted the report.

"This level has been sustained since the earliest published data in this series, for 1995, when it was 96.2 percent. ... The most commonly used method among teenagers in 2011–2015 remained the condom (reported by 97.4 percent of females), followed by withdrawal (59.7 percent) and the pill (55.5 percent)."

3) Racial Differences

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The CDC report found disparities in sexual activity experience between various racial groups, especially in the males category.

"For male teenagers, in 2011–2015, 58.6 percent of never-married non-Hispanic black males aged 15–19 had sexual intercourse, a significantly higher percentage than the 45.7 percent among never-married Hispanic males and the 42.8 percent among never-married non-Hispanic white males in this age group," noted the report.

"This difference between non-Hispanic white and black males has persisted through all five survey periods (10–12)."

The report did note some lack of disparity among females, with the authors noting that "in 2011–2015, no significant differences were seen in the percentages who were sexually experienced among never-married Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black female teenagers."

US Teen Pregnancy Rate Higher Than Other Developed Nations

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(Photo: Reuters/Joshua Lott)A pregnant woman stands on a scale before receiving a prenatal exam at the Maternity Outreach Mobile in Phoenix, Arizona October 8, 2009. The maternity outreach program helps uninsured women living in the Phoenix metropolitan area receive the proper treatment and care during and after their pregnancy. The Maternity Outreach Mobile is equipped with two exam rooms, an ultrasound machine, an external fetal monitor, a laboratory and offers pregnancy tests, referrals and immunization for children.

The recently released CDC report found that, while the teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. had declined in recent years, it remained higher than other developed nations.

Found to be at 22.3 per 1,000 females aged 15–19 in 2015, the U.S. still has a higher rate than countries like Canada, France, and Germany.

"For example, in 2011, the teen birth rate in Canada was 13 per 1,000 females aged 15–19, which was less than one-half of the U.S. rate (34 per 1,000 females aged 15–19) in the same year," stated the report.

"Also in 2011, the rate in France was seven and the rate in Germany was five, both of which were less than one-quarter of the U.S. rate."

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