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Sexual Health Not Improving in Teens and Young Adults

CDC Surveillance Summary cites recent increases in teen birth rates, AIDS and syphilis cases

FRIDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) -- The sexual and reproductive health status of adolescents and young adults is flattening or worsening after a long period of improvement, according to a new Surveillance Summary published July 17 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Lorrie Gavin, Ph.D., and colleagues from the CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta analyzed 2002 to 2007 data from the National Vital Statistics System and CDC reports and surveys such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the National Survey of Family Growth, and the HIV/AIDS Reporting System.

The researchers found that significant decreases in teen birth rates between 1991 and 2005 were followed by increases in 2006 to 2007, and that Hispanic and African-American teens ages 15 to 19 had significantly higher rates than their Caucasian counterparts. They also observed significant increases in AIDS cases among males ages 15 to 24, and syphilis cases among males and females ages 15 to 24.

"Practitioners can use the information provided in this report when making decisions about how to allocate resources and identify those subpopulations that are in greatest need," the authors conclude. "Researchers can use the information provided in this report to guide future study on youths at highest risk to better understand the causes of sexual risk behavior and ways to reduce it. Finally, policy makers can use the information provided in this report to justify expanded funding of effective programs, new research on innovative intervention strategies, and continued monitoring of sexual risk behavior and reproductive health outcomes."

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