Teen pregnancy rates fall, but STDs remain a concern
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Statistics show that many teens do not practice safer sex. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals between the ages of 15 and 24 account for nearly half of all new sexually transmitted disease (STD) cases each year. However, according to a recent report from the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. teen pregnancy rates are at a historic low. This suggests that while many teens may be using contraceptives, they use the kinds that protect against unplanned pregnancy but not STDs, such as the birth control pill.
According to the report, teen pregnancy rates went from 117 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 19 in 1990 to 70 per 1,000. Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said that young people have themselves to thank for this improvement.
"The impressive declines in teen pregnancy have been both wide and deep," said Brown. "The rates have gone down in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups. The steady declines in teen pregnancy represent one of the nation's great success stories of the past two decades and the thanks go to teens themselves."
Other findings from the report included the fact that pregnancy rates for girls between the ages of 10 and 14 were the lowest ever reported, the number for those aged between 15 and 17 declined by almost a half, and and babies born to women aged 18 to 19 declined by about one third.
While this survey is encouraging, other statistics from the CDC still show that STD infections are high among teens. Parents and health officials need to remind young people that while the birth control pill and similar contraceptives can prevent pregnancy, only the male or female condom helps protect against STDs.
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