The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a summary report on the 2017 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) which reveals the number of high school-age individuals who have ever had sex has dropped again to about 40 percent.
According to the report, the percentage of young people who have ever had sex has dropped from 48 percent in 2007 to 39.5 percent in 2017. Additionally, the percentage of youth reporting having four or more sexual partners decreased five percentage points, from 15 percent in 2007 to 9.7 percent in 2017.
Though these results suggest a positive trend for young people, CDC warns that many high school students are still engaged in sexual risk behaviors that can result in pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Among those young people who are sexually active, only 53.8 percent report that either they or their sexual partner had used a condom during the last incidence of sexual intercourse.
In 2007, condom use among sexually active high school students was 62 percent. The drop in condom use among those high school students who are having sex means more young people are at risk for HIV and STIs. The only 100 percent effective method to avoid contracting HIV or STIs is abstinence.
In a letter to the Fairfax County, Virginia, school board, Dr. Michelle Cretella, president of the American College of Pediatricians; Dr. Donna Harrison, executive director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists; and Dr. David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, directed comments to the board regarding proposed changes to the district’s sex education curriculum.
“Abstinence from all sexual activity is the only 100% effective way for teens to avoid pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and associated emotional disorders,” the doctors wrote, adding that both the Department of Health and Human Services and a study published this year found comprehensive sex education programs of the sort that emphasize condoms and contraceptives “have failed to demonstrate long term effectiveness in achieving higher rates of either sexual abstinence, or correct and consistent condom and contraceptive use among teens.”
According to CDC:
The prevalence of having ever had sexual intercourse was higher among black (45.8%) than white (38.6%) students, higher among black male (52.7%) and Hispanic male (44.1%) than white male (38.5%) students, and higher among black male (52.7%) than Hispanic male (44.1%) students.
“Nationwide, 3.4% of students had had sexual intercourse for the first time before age 13 years,” states CDC.