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Sex Education Linked to Abstinence, Later First Sex

Males receiving sex education also more likely to use contraception the first time they have sex

FRIDAY, Dec. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who receive sex education prior to the initiation of sexual activity are more likely to abstain from sex, postpone the initiation of sexual activity, and use contraception the first time they have sex, according to an article published in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Trisha E. Mueller, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, which included information from 2,019 never-married adolescents aged 15 to 19, to investigate the association between sex education and adolescent sexual behavior.

Sex education before the onset of sexual activity was associated with a reduced likelihood of having sexual intercourse among males (odds ratio 0.42), and delaying sexual intercourse until age 15 among males (OR, 0.29) and females (OR, 0.41). Males receiving sex education, but not females, were more likely to use contraception at first intercourse (OR, 2.77).

"Receiving sex education before first sexual intercourse may help contribute to reaching the Healthy People 2010 goals of reducing the number of adolescents who have sexual intercourse, reducing the number of adolescents younger than age 15 years who have sexual intercourse, and increasing the number of adolescents who use contraceptive methods," the authors conclude.

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