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2005 to 2015 Saw Fewer High School Students Having Sex

MONDAY, Jan. 8, 2018 -- For high school students, the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse decreased from 2005 to 2015, according to research published in the Jan. 5 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Kathleen A. Ethier, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined trends overall and by grade, race/ethnicity, and sex among U.S. high school students using data from the 2005 to 2015 national Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

The researchers observed a significant decrease overall in the proportion of high school students who had ever had sexual intercourse; overall linear decreases were seen across genders and race/ethnicity subgroups except in white students. Decreases were seen more specifically among ninth and 10th grade students, non-Hispanic black students in all grades, and Hispanic students in three grades. In 14 of the 29 states assessed, a similar pattern was observed by grade, with a decrease in the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse only in ninth grade or in ninth and 10th grades. Decreases in some or all grades were seen for nearly all states.

"The overall decrease in the prevalence of ever having had sexual intercourse during 2005 to 2015 is a positive change in sexual risk among adolescents," the authors write. "More work is needed to understand the reasons for these decreases and to ensure that they continue."

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Posted: January 2018