Classes impact boys more than girls, national survey finds
THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Sex education programs do work to help discourage many teens from becoming sexually active before age 15, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Formal programs -- such as those presented in schools and church groups -- did appear to delay onset of sexual activity. For example, teen girls in the nationally representative sample were 59 percent less likely to start having sex before age 15 if they had received sex education, while teen boys were 71 percent less likely, the study found.
"We were obviously hoping to find that sex education is effective. We're glad to see the strong associations," said lead author Trisha Mueller, a CDC epidemiologist. She emphasized that in order to be successful, sex education should take place before young people become sexually active.
Mueller's team also learned that teen boys who attended school were almost three times more likely to use contraception if they had attended a sex education program, compared to those who had not.
However, attendance at a sex education class did not seem to impact girls' use of birth control, the survey found.
The survey did not differentiate between programs that emphasized abstinence and those that educated about contraception. Instead, researchers focused only on whether the teens had ever attended any sex education program in a formal setting, such as school or church.
The study was expected to be published in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
According to earlier, 2005 data available from the CDC, 47 percent of high school students said they had already had sex. Of those who were currently involved in a sexual relationship, one-third said they were not using a condom.
Curious about the effectiveness of sexual educ
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