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New Report Examines Teens' Attitudes Toward Sexual Behavior During High School Years

May 12, 2000

"The Cautious Generations? Teens Tell Us About Sex, Virginity, and the Talk" is a new survey from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy that examines teens' perceptions of sexual activity, abstinence messages, virginity, parental communication, pregnancy, and STDs.

Researchers polled a nationally representative sample of 1,025 teens aged 12 to 17 during February and April 2000.

Responses include:

When asked if it is acceptable for high school-age teens to be sexually active:

  • 58% of respondents (64% of girls and 53% of boys) stated that it is not acceptable for teens in high school to be sexually active even with safer sex precautions. Younger teens ages 12-14 (69%) were more likely than older teens ages 15-17 (48%) to state this opinion.

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  • In comparison, 38% of respondents (31% of girls and 45% of boys) stated that it is acceptable for teens in high school to be sexually active with safer sex precautions. Older teens ages 15-17 (51%) were more likely than younger teens ages 12-14 (25%) to state this opinion.

When asked if teens should be given stronger messages from society to abstain from sexual intercourse until they are out of high school:

  • 71% of respondents stated that giving stronger messages is very important.

  • 22% of respondents stated that this is somewhat important.

  • 5% of respondents stated that this is not too important.

  • 2% of respondents stated that this is not at all important.

When asked if it is embarrassing for teens to admit they are virgins:

  • 92% of girls and 83% of boys said it is not embarrassing to admit to being a virgin.

  • 7% of girls and 14% of boys said it is embarrassing.

When asked if they have had a helpful conversation with their parents about sexuality:

  • 63% of respondents (67% of girls and 60% of boys) reported having had a helpful conversation with their parents about sexuality.

When asked what is the main reason teens do not engage in sexual intercourse:

  • 50% of respondents stated the main reason teens do not engage in sexual intercourse is fear of STDs and pregnancy.

  • 26% of respondents stated it is religion, morals, and values.

  • 9% of respondents stated it is because they have not found the right partner.

  • 5% of respondents stated it is because they are not ready for sexual intercourse.

  • 4% of respondents stated others reasons for not engaging in sexual intercourse.

(Editor's note: According to data from CDC's 1997 national Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 48% of students report having engaged in sexual intercourse before high school graduation.)

For more information:

National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
1776 Massachusetts Avenue., N.W., Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202/478-8500
Fax: 202/478-8588
Web site: http://www.teenpregnancy.org


Resources

More Ways to Go: Sex-Positive Strategies and Resources for Creating a Healthy Campus Environment is a new resource produced by Rutgers University. This manual provides working models and activities for HIV-prevention programs designed for use with college students.

The manual is divided into two sections. The first section provides sample activities and programs that can be used when teaching students about sexual health and/or HIV/AIDS and STD prevention.

Section two provides examples of ways to integrate issues related to HIV into academic coursework and service learning activities. It also provides an overview of two prevention programs that are specifically targeted to gay and bisexual Latino males and African-American males. These programs illustrate principles for culturally competent HIV-prevention education. Up to 50 copies are free.

For more information:

The New Jersey Collegiate Consortium for Health in Education
Willets Health Center - Rutgers University
11 Suydam Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Phone: 732/932-1219
Fax: 732/932-3357
Email: dflewis@rci.rutgers.edu


Higher Alcohol Taxes May Reduce STD Incidence Among Teens

An article in the April 28 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report summarizes a new study that examined the association between gonorrhea rates among adolescents and alcohol policies (taxation and minimum legal drinking age) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia between 1981-95.

Researchers analyzed states' crude gonorrhea incidence (new cases per 100,000) during the year before and after alcohol policy changes were made. Changes in gonorrhea rates for states in which no policy changes occurred were used for comparison.

The study found that most beer tax increases were followed by a relative proportionate decrease in gonorrhea rates among 15 to 19 years olds, with a greater decrease among females. Most minimum legal drinking age increases were also followed by a relative proportionate decrease in gonorrhea rates for 15 to 19 year olds. A regression analysis suggests that a beer tax increase of $0.20 per six pack could reduce overall gonorrhea rates by 8.9%.

The authors note that higher alcohol prices and improved enforcement of legal drinking age requirements have been highlighted as strategies to reduce alcohol consumption. They suggest that alcohol policies could also be used to reduce risky sexual behavior and its adverse consequences.

For more information:

"Alcohol Policy and Sexually Transmitted Disease Rates-United States, 1981-1995," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 28, 2000, vol. 49, no. 16, pp. 346-9.

Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/epo/mmwr



  
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This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.
 
See Also
More Statistics on Young People and HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

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