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International News

Canada: Trend Reversing Itself? B.C. Report Suggests Fewer Teens Are Having Sex

July 24, 2008

Results from the latest survey of British Columbia teenagers show the number of youths who say they have had sex dropped by a third between 1992 and 2003. Among boys, 23 percent reported sexual intercourse in 2003, down from 34 percent in 1992. Among girls, 24 percent said they had had intercourse, down from 29 percent.

The study, using data compiled by researchers from the McCreary Center Society (MCCS), a nonprofit dedicated to youth health issues, found that 87 percent of teens who reported being sexually active in 2003 used contraception, up 20 percent or so from a decade earlier.

There is a misconception on the part of parents and teens alike about how often teens are having sex, said Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc, associate professor at the University of British Columbia's school of nursing and research director at MCCS. "They all seem to think that more youth are having sex at younger and younger ages, but in fact that's not what we're finding," she said. "They're waiting longer, and when they do have sex, they're more likely to take steps to protect their health."

"Statistics Canada has been showing declining births among adolescents since 1994 and their declines match the trends that we see," Saewyc said.

In addition, concerns about younger teens lacking the maturity to engage in safe sex may be unfounded. According to the study, the youngest girls who were sexually active reported the highest prevalence of condom use.

Back to other news for July 2008

Adapted from:
Daily Herald-Tribune
07.18.2008; Sean Patrick Sullivan, Canadian Press

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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