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CDC Releases YRBSS Data, Shows Little Change in Important Sexual Behavior Among Teens

  New York, NY – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS).  The YRBSS, which is released biennially, tracks different health risk behaviors, including sexual behaviors that contribute to unintended pregnancies and STDs, among high school students.  The YRBSS surveyed more than 14,000 high school students from across the country.  The results for sexual behavior included the following:

·         47.8% of students reported ever having had sexual intercourse (46.8% in 2005)

·         7.1% of students reported having had sex before age 13 (6.2% in 2005)

·         14.9% of students reported having had sex with four or more sexual partners (14.3% in 2005)

·         35.0% of students reported being currently sexually active, defined as having had sexual intercourse in the three months prior to the survey (33.9% in 2005)

·         61.5% of sexually active students reported that either they or their partner had used a condom during last sex (62.8% in 2005)

·         89.5 % of students reported having been taught about AIDS or HIV in school (87.9% in 2005)

“What we are seeing in these results is a lack of any progress over the past two years,” said Martha Kempner, vice president for communications and information at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).  “And when it comes to the health of our young people, progress is everything.”

Between 1991, when the YRBSS was first conducted, and 1999 we saw sharp increases in positive behaviors and decreases in negative behaviors.  Unfortunately, over the past nine years, that progress has stalled and in some cases there have been steps backward.  Black and Hispanic youth remain at greater risk for certain health-related behaviors than their white peers.  Hispanic students especially have not seen significant progress in sexual health-related behaviors across the board over the past 17 years.

“The YRBSS gives snapshots of what is going on among the country’s teens at particular points in time,” continued Kempner.  “Together, these pictures show us that we seemed to be on the right track in the early 90s: teens were delaying sex, reducing the number of sexual partners, and increasing condom use.  But, clearly, we have gotten off track and are failing our youth.  We need to redouble our efforts as a society to affect positive changes, especially for minority and underserved populations.”

The full YRBSS, including data on many other teen risk behaviors, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm.  For more information contact Patrick Malone at pmalone@siecus.org or (212)819-9770 ext. 316.

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