Interventions effectively encourage abstinence and safer sex
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It's important to find effective strategies to reduce teen pregnancies and encourage young people to practice safer sex so they do not contract a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It's especially key to reach out to young women, since they have a greater of getting a sexual infection than men do. Recently, researchers from the University of South Florida and Brown University set out to determine if interventions that are tailored to young girls would reduce risky sexual behavior, and the results were positive.
Researcher Dianne Morrison-Beedy, Ph.D., from the University of South Florida stated that while teen pregnancy is on the decline, it still costs the U.S. more than $10 billion annually. She cited a 2011 report from the National Campaign to Reduce Teen Pregnancy which found that between 1991 and 2008 there were nearly 455,000 teen births in Florida, which cost taxpayers more than $11 billion in health and welfare support. These findings highlight the need for effective interventions to reduce teen pregnancy, which would benefit not only young girls, but also the country as a whole.
According to the scientists, girls between the ages of 15 and 19 who participated in their sexual risk reduction (SRR) intervention were more likely to practice abstinence. Furthermore, those in the SRR study who did engage in sexual activity reduced their instances of unprotected sex and their number of partners. The interventionists reached out to these girls through age-appropriate activities that explained the consequences of unprotected sex.
"Our findings underscore the benefit of gender-specific prevention interventions for adolescent girls, yet there is more work to be done to continue refining these interventions to ensure they are feasible, appealing, and successful in reducing risky sexual behavior," said senior study author Michael Carey, Ph.D.
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