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More Than 40% of U.S. Teens Have Had Sex
Date:6/2/2010

One-quarter of them would be pleased with a pregnancy resulting from it, report shows

WEDNESDAY, June 2 (HealthDay News) -- More than 40 percent of unmarried U.S. teenagers -- or 4.3 million teen males and females -- have had sex at least once, a new U.S. government report shows.

This continues a flattening trend seen since 2002 and caps a downward trend seen between 1995 and 2002, especially in males, said report author Joyce Abma. The report was issued Wednesday by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

"One of the great success stories of the past two decades has been the extraordinary declines in teen pregnancy and childbearing," said Bill Albert, chief program officer at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "This progress has recently stalled out."

Perhaps more surprisingly, one in five teen girls and one in four teen boys who had had sex said they would be pleased if they or their partner got pregnant.

"This is really quite alarming," Albert said. "I don't think it takes a Ph.D. to understand that in this day and age and in this economy the route to success doesn't begin with a family at age 16."

Another expert noted that sex education is key.

"With nearly half of all teenagers stating that they are sexually active, we cannot afford to keep our heads in the sand about ensuring that our young people have access to comprehensive sex education," said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "While it's encouraging to hear that a majority of them are using some form of birth control, many of the attitudes revealed in this report tell us that there is plenty of room for more comprehensive sex education that includes information about abstinence, contraception, healthy relationships, and responsible decision-making."

The study, which analyzed data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth, also foun
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