A survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, that was carried out for two years, from 2011 to 2013 reveals that, out of the girls of 15 to 19, who had sexual relationships, 22 percent said that they used the morning-after pill at least once. This is a significant rise compared to the percentage recorded in 2002, when only 8 percent of the girls admitted to using emergency contraception.
According to Dr. Metee Comkornruecha, who specializes in adolescent medicine and works at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, said that the rise might be due to the fact that this form of contraception has become more popular. In 2002, there were fewer teens who knew about the availability of the morning-after pill.
According to Dr. Comkornruecha, the increasing use of emergency contraception is a good sign that teen pregnancy rates will be lower, although it is not yet certain how much lower. Teenagers who become pregnant are more likely to give up education and be financially unstable for a long time.
However, he also said that the fact that teens employ this method proves that they are not using other contraceptive methods that are reliable and healthy, such as condoms, regularly.
“It means that something’s still going wrong in the system in terms of protecting themselves,” he said,
Therefore, he concluded that the implications of this study are mixed.
The report also reveals that teenage sex rates are not as high as they used to be in the past. It seems that 44 percent of the teenage girls who took part in the survey and 47 percent of the teenage boys responded that they had never had sex. Looking back over the previous 25 years, this represents an increase of 14 percent for girls and 22 percent for boys.
Sexual education also seems to be paying off, because about 80 percent of the girls and 84 percent of the boys said that they used a contraceptive method when they first had a sexual intercourse.
Those who did not use a contraceptive method the first time were five times more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy by the age of 17, according to the same report.
“Understanding these patterns and trends in sexual activity, contraceptive use, and their impact on teen pregnancy can help provide context regarding the recent decline in the U.S. teen birth rate,” said the authors of the study.
Teenagers have easy access to emergency contraception pills such as Plan B One-Step, which is released without a prescription even for women under 17. Plan B is effective within 72 hours and helps prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
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