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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Teen sex numbers falling — except in North Carolina

Posted By on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Here's some good news about teens and sex: Many more young men and women between the ages of 15-24 aren't doing the do.

Now, here's the bad news: they aren't from North Carolina.

A study by the  Center for Disease Control said teens and young adults are having less sex, but North Carolina may be an exception to the findings.

"Surveys display what they want you to see. In the state of North Carolina, if you work in the Department of Health and Human Services, you will see that's not the case," said Michele Martin, the women and youth education coordinator for the Western North Carolina AIDS Project.

The survey interviewed 5,300 teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 across the U.S. and asked them questions about their sex life. The results showed between 2002 and 2009, 28 percent reported never having any sexual contact, including vaginal, oral or anal sex, which is an increase in abstinence from the 2002 result of 22 percent.

Martin said the results from the national survey did not match up with other statistics specifically about the sexual activity of young people in North Carolina.

"If you look at 2009 statistics, you'll see that there were 15,000 cases between the ages of 15 and 19 of chlamydia and there were 16,000 between 20 and 24. Those numbers only went up in 2010. Two-thirds of all chlamydia cases were between the ages of 15 and 24," Martin said.

North Carolina has the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S., according to statistics by the Healthy Youth Act, as well as having 67 percent of all sexual transmitted diseases reported in North Carolina were between the ages of 15 and 24.

The Healthy Youth Act was approved by Congress in 2009 and went into effect for the 2010-11 school year. The act requires students in grades 7-9 receive an education on abstinence, as well as a comprehensive sexuality education, unless their parents personally remove them from the program.

Still think that abstinence-only education works?

According to Martin, if people try to be more honest, open and communicate with each other about sex, preventing teen pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases will be easier and more effective.

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