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ARCHIVED: Adolescent Health Initiative - Reproductive Health
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Each year, there are approximately 19 million new sexually transmittedinfections (STI) in the United States, and almost half of the infections occur in youth and young adults aged 15 to 24 years. Thirty-four percent of young women become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of 20.

Vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse place young people at risk for HIV infection and other STIs. Vaginal intercourse carries the additional risk of pregnancy. In the United States (US):

  • In 2009, 34% of US high school students were sexually active.1
  • In 2009, 46% of 9th-12th grade studentsreported ever having sexual intercourse, and 14% reported having four or more sex partners during their life.1
  • In 2009, 61% of currently sexually active high school students used a condom, and 20% used birth control pills before their last sexual intercourse.1
  • Between 2006-2008, 7% of females and 9% of male teenagers aged 15-19 years had engaged in oral sex with someone of the opposite sex and without vaginal intercourse.2
  • Between 2006-2008, 10.5% of females and 10.2% of males aged 15-19 years had anal sex with the opposite sex; 2.5% of males aged 15-19 years reported having oral or anal sex with a male.2
  • In 2009, an estimated 1,752 young people aged 15-19 years in the 40 states reporting to CDC, were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS.3
  • Each year, there are approximately 19 million new STI’s, and almost half of them are among youth and young adults aged 15 to 24 years.4
  • In 2009, 409,840 births occurred among adolescents aged 15-19 years. There was a decline in the birth rates for this age group of 8% from 2007 to a rate of 39.1 births per 1000 teens in 2009.5

In addition, young people in the United States use alcohol and other drugs at high rates.6 Adolescents are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors, such as unprotected sex, when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.6 In 2009, 22% of high school students who had sexual intercourse during the past three months drank alcohol or used drugs before their last sexual intercourse.1



  1. Eaton DK, Kann L, Kinchen S, Shanklin S, Ross J, Hawkins J, Harris WA, Lowry R, McManus T, Chyen D, Lim C, Whittle L, Brener ND, Wechsler H. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance – United States, 2009. Surveillance Summaries, June 4, 2010. MMWR 2010; 59(No. SS-5).

  2. Chandra A, Mosher WD, Copen C, Sionean C. Sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the United States: Data from the 2006–2008 National Survey of Family Growth. National health statistics reports; no 36. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2011.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Surveillance Report, 2009; Vol. 21 DC. Available: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/reports/. Published February 2011. Accessed: May 17, 2011.

  4. Weinstock H, Berman S, Cates W. Sexually transmitted diseases among American youth: Incidence and prevalence estimates, 2000. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 2004;36(1):6-10.

  5. Ventura SJ, Hamilton BE. U.S. Teenage birth rate resumes decline. NCHS data brief, no 58. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2011.

  6. Leigh B, Stall R. Substance use and risky sexual behavior for exposure to HIV: issues in methodology, interpretation, and prevention. American Psychologist 1993;48:1035–1043.



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