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Researchers appear to be particularly puzzled by the association between family planning and teenage sexual activity:
Instead of the expected reduction in teenage pregnancies,
Joseph Olsen, and Stan Weed, in a study that replicated their earlier work found that greater teenage involvement in family planning programs was correlated significantly with higher pregnancies and higher teenage abortion rates."2 (See figure 2a-2d)
"Zelnik and Kantner, 1979 as cited in "Effects of Family Planning Programs for Teenagers on Adolescent Birth and Pregnancy Rates" Olsen, Joseph A., and Weed, Stan, A., Family Perspective, Fall, 1986, p. 153.
"Olsen, Joseph A. and Weed, Stan E., "Effects of Family Planning Programs on Teenage Pregnancy--Replication and Extension," Family Perspectives, Fall 1986, pp. 173, 175.
The birthrate of unmarried teenagers has increased nearly 5.5 times since 1940 with half of the increase occurring since 1975. Neither the availability of oral contraceptives, the legalization of abortion, the threat of AIDS or the wholesale teaching ot' sex education has appreciably slowed its growth. Over the last 50 years the unmarried teen birthrate has increased at an average rate of 3.4 percent a year. The only significant period during which the rate stabilized was from 1956 to 1963; even the 5 year period following the legalization of abortion saw an average growth rate of nearly 2 percent per year.
The birth rate for unmarried teens, both for 15-17 and 18-19 year opi olds, more than doubled since 1966. In the last four years alone the birth rate of unmarried 15 to 17 year olds has increased by 28 percent and that of 18 and 19 year olds has increased by 23 percent.
to Corto Moda
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Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 40, No. 8.
THE MAJORITY OF TEENS ARE NOT AT RISK
Clearly not all children are at equal risk of contracting the AIDS virus or an STD.
an STD. For teens who have not had sexual intercourse at all, or who do not use intravenous drugs, the risk of HIV or STD infection is very low.13
The majority of teens are not engaging in behaviors that put them at risk, according to the National Commission on Children:
The majority of young people emerge from adolescence
RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IS INCREASING
Teens who engage in risky sexual behaviors increase their odds of infection.
At higher risk are adolescents who do one or more of
engage in sexual intercourse at early ages
Tragically, as reported in the Journal of Adolescent Health (1991), "the rates of adverse sexual consequences among our
Adolescent Health-Volume II: Background and the Effectiveness of Selected Prevention and Treatment Services, U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Government Printing Office, November 1991, p. 271.
14 Beyond Rhetoric, p. 219.
Adolescent Health-Volume II, p. 271.
teenagers have not fallen and risky sexual behaviors seem to be increasing."76 Our experience with the strategies currently being used lead to the recent admission by the Centers for Disease Control Division of STD-HIV Prevention (1991) that "our ability to bring about change in behavior currently appears minimal."17 See figures 4a-4c for evidence on syphilis and gonorrhea.
Premarital intercourse remained stable in our country essentially from 1925 to 1965.18 During that time period the values of self-restraint and self-control were highly regarded. This shows that adolescents are
are capable of refraining from inappropriate sexual activity when the culture supports it.
The birthrate of unmarried teens has increased substantially since 1940. But in recent years, its growth has accelerated. (See figures 2a)
TEENS AND AIDS: AN EMERGING RISK GROUP
Recent studies are documenting that some adolescents are behaving in ways that puts them at risk for contracting the AIDS virus. Although the prevalence of HIV infection among teens is unknown, as the level of risk-taking behavior among this group becomes identified there is a growing concern about the future rate of HIV infection. What is known is that the long latency period in which symptoms are not manifest may mask the number of individuals who contracted the virus as teenagers.
Cates, Willard, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., "Teenagers and Sexual Risk Taking: The Best of Times and the Worst of Times," Journal of Adolescent Health, March 1991, p. 84.
Aral, Sevgi O., Ph.D, "Sexual Behavior and Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infections;" STD Bulletin, U. S. Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control/ Division of STD-HIV Prevention, May 1991, p. 9.
Chilman, C., "Adolescent Sexuality in a Changing American Society: Social and Psychological Perspectives," Washington, D.C., DHEW Publication No. (NIH) 79-1426, 1978 as cited in Thomas E. Elkins, M.D., "On the Need for More Careful Consideration By Gynecologists of Sex Education Programs in Public Schools," A presentation at the Senate Republican Caucus on Sex Education, Lansing, Michigan, August 1989, p. 2.