Press Release: Give Teens What They Need to Make Healthy Decisions

Providing teens with information about and access to contraception before they need it is crucial to their health, we learn from the CDC’s new report Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Childbearing of Teenagers Aged 15–19 in the United States.

Sexual development is a normal and healthy part of growing up, and teens become more sexually active as they age. Forty-four percent of female and 47 percent of male teens had ever had sex, and by age 19 nearly 70 percent of teens have ever had sex. These numbers have been steady since 2002. They represent millions of teens who need education and skills to protect them from unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


It is our responsibility to make sure teens have access to information and contraception options they need in order to protect their health and plan their futures. Teens who use a contraceptive method right from the start, the first time they have sex, are less likely to become pregnant than those who don’t. By the age of 17, young women are five times as likely to have had a teen birth if they don’t use contraception the first time they have sex.

“Whether or not they are sexually active, young people need and have the right to information that can help them make informed decisions and lead healthy lives,” said Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth. “We need to arm them with information, skills, and access to contraception and condoms before they need them.”

By age 18, the majority of young people have had sex. We must ensure they get the information and skills they need to avoid unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and STIs. Comprehensive sexuality education, access to condoms and contraception, youth-friendly services, and open and honest communication around sexuality all play an important role in empowering young people to protect their sexual health throughout their lives.

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Advocates for Youth is a national non-profit that advocates for policies and champions programs that recognize young people’s rights to: honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth. Advocates’ Youth Activist Network stands 75,000 strong on 1,000 campuses and in tens of thousands of communities.


For immediate Release:

July 22, 2015


Rachel Cooke // 202.419.3420 x45 rachel@advocatesforyouth.org