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Teenage Birthrate Declining in US Both Abstinence and Awareness Called for to Maintain the Trend

Teenage birthrate in US has dropped to a 65-year low.

According to a report released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Center for Health Statistics, the birth rate for teenagers declined 2 percent in 2005, falling to 40.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 years, a 35-percent drop compared with the most recent peak in 1991 (61.8), and the lowest ever recorded in the 65 years for which a consistent series of rates is available.

But who should take the credit for this welcome trend? Those who are for comprehensive education or those who believe abstinence is the only way out.

Monica Rodriguez, vice president of education and training at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, says that the birth rate is down mostly because of an increase in the consistent use of improved hormonal birth control methods, like the pill, the patch, the shot and the implant.

Her claims are supported by the widely read report released in late 2006 that found that 86 percent of the decline in pregnancy risk can be attributed to improved contraceptive use and that 14 percent of the decline can be attributed to teens waiting longer to start having sex.

Albert offers another piece in the puzzle. HIV prevention education may finally be "catching up." It's common, he says, for public health information to take a long time -- even decades -- to actually effect the way people behave.

Here's another great thing: Black teens aged 15 to 17 experienced the steepest reduction in teen births. Some people surmise that the decrease is simply because the group with the highest rate will also have the greatest decline.

But Dr. Michael A. Carrera, director of the Children's Aid Society's Stern National Adolescent Sexuality Training Center, thinks there's more to it. He speculates that there is a connection between the declining black teen birthrate and the increased ed
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