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Data on today's youth reveal childhood clues for later risk of STDs
Date:2/11/2014

hort term. Like dieting," Manhart said. "What we don't do often in the STD prevention world is think about why people engage in sex early, why they don't use condoms, and what drives these risky behaviors."

The UW team looked at what else might be at play.

Becoming sexually active early in life is commonly linked to contracting an STD. So the researchers looked for factors shared by youth who became sexually active early younger than age 15, as measured in Epstein's study.

The data came from two longitudinal youth development studies Seattle Social Development Project and Raising Healthy Children that began in the mid-1980s and early 1990s in urban and suburban schools in the Seattle area.

At age 24, participants from both studies had averaged eight sexual partners in their lifetimes and around a fifth said that they had been diagnosed with an STD, including herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia or HIV/AIDS.

Of youth in the study who became sexually active before age 15, more about a third had an STD compared with about 16 percent of those who were older when they started having sex.

Having more sexual partners was directly related to both early initiation of sexual activity and STD diagnosis. Having sex after drinking alcohol or using drugs was also related to STDs among youth in the Raising Healthy Children study.

In addition to the standard risky behaviors, researchers examined survey data from the participants' childhoods, when they were ages 10 to 14. Included were parent responses to questions about how closely they monitor their kids and whether they establish rules, discipline and rewards. In families that were well-managed, youngsters were less likely to have early sexual debuts.

School engagement how much kids between ages 10 and 14 liked school, their teachers and schoolwork also buffered against sexual activity at young ages. But having childhood friends who got into troub
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Contact: Molly McElroy
mollywmc@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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