Although these findings are seen as progress in reducing teen pregnancy rates, meeting the Healthy People 2020 goal of reducing teen pregnancy rates by 10 percent will require "a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health that includes continued promotion of delayed sexual debut and increased use of highly effective contraception among sexually experienced teens," the CDC said.
However, "we are on target to meet that goal," Tyler added.
Dr. Lawrence Friedman, director of adolescent medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that, "It's good news that young people are using more contraceptives when they are sexually active, and that there are more young people that are delaying the onset of sexual activity."
However, Friedman doesn't think that the apparent decrease in sexual activity means that teens are having less sex, just that they may be having less intercourse. "So, it does not indicate that teenagers are really less sexually active, maybe they are not choosing intercourse," he explained.
The fact that the pregnancy rate is down could mean that fewer teens are having intercourse, but perhaps more teens are choosing oral sex or mutual masturbation instead of intercourse, Friedman added.
For more information on contraception, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
SOURCES: Lawrence Friedman, M.D., professor, pediatrics, and director, adolescent medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Crystal Pirtle Tyler, Ph.D., health scientist, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; May 4, 2012, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
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