More condom use by teen males reported

The safer sex message is reaching adolescents. Results of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows the percentage of teen males ages 15-19 in the United States who used a condom the first time they had sex increased between 2002 and 2006-2010.1

The report shows eight in 10 teen males used a condom at first sex, an increase of 9 percentage points from 2002. More teen males also used a condom in combination with a female partner's hormonal method: 16% versus 10% in 2002.

Reproductive health advocates hailed the September 2011 release of the report, issued by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics.

"The nation's teen pregnancy and birth rates are now at record lows and the credit for this truly extraordinary progress goes to teens themselves who are making better decisions about sex and contraceptive use," said Sarah Brown, chief executive officer of the Washington, DC-based National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy in a statement accompanying the report's release.

Take a closer look

According to the new report, from 2006-2010, about 43% of never-married female teen-agers (4.4 million), and about 42% of never-married male teen-agers (4.5 million) had had sexual intercourse at least once. These levels of sexual experience have not changed significantly from 2002, researchers note.

The majority of teens are using some form of pregnancy prevention at first sex: 78% of females and 85% of males used a method of contraception at first sex according to 2006-2010 data. The condom remains the most popular method.

More adolescent females are looking at other forms of hormonal contraception than the Pill. Six percent of teen females used a non-pill hormonal method at first sex in the latest survey, compared to 2% in 2002. The most common method at first intercourse was the condom (68%) followed by the pill (16%).

About 20% of females in 2002 and 2006-2010 reported using hormonal contraceptive injectables when asked whether they had ever used a birth control method. Use of the contraceptive patch by teenagers also is on the rise. About 2% said they used it in 2002, when it was newly introduced; that number rose to 10% by 2006-2010. About 5% of teenagers (5.2%) said they had used the contraceptive ring.

Use of emergency contraception (EC) is on the rise, statistics indicate. In 2002, the use of EC was recorded at 8% in 2002; that figure grew to 14% in 2006-2010.

Reference

  1. Martinez G, Copen CE, Abma JC. Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. National Center for Health Statistics. Vital Health Stat 2011; 23:1-35.