Today, September 26th, is World Contraception Day! At ONE it is our mission to encourage conversations around condom use and safer sex in open and honest ways.Today, we celebrate how far we’ve come to make sure people have access to resources and information so that they can make healthy decisions when it comes to sex. We also recognize the work ahead of us to empower communities across the country—and the world—to make a difference in advocating for sexual health.
A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health builds on years of recent research that has found teen pregnancy rates continue to decrease. The researchers looked at different reasons for this trend. Between 2007 and 2013, using multiple methods of contraception (such as taking the pill and using condoms) increased among women ages 15-19.
In addition, the percentage of women who used the birth control pill increased from 26 percent to 35 percent, while those using intrauterine devices (IUDs) increased from 1.3 percent to 2.7 percent. Condom use among teens increased from 49 percent to 56 percent. In addition: The number of teens who reported not using any contraception fell from 20 percent to 13 percent—a decrease of nearly 35 percent!
Similarly, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 56.9 percent of the teens said either they or their partner had used a condom during their last sexual intercourse. The CDC data also found teenagers are also waiting longer to have sex. During 1991–2015, the percentage of teens who reported they had ever had sexual intercourse decreased from 54.1 percent to 41.2 percent. This follows years of research that says when students have access to medically accurate, comprehensive, empowering information about sex—they are more likely to wait to engage in sex
Today we take a moment to thank all of our amazing partners across the world who are breaking down stigma one condom conversation at a time. We think of Konbit Mizik who distributed condoms in Haiti, Rev. Lane Campbell who teaches sexuality education at her church, and so many more stories.
As we celebrate, we also recognize all the work ahead of us. For example: although rates of new infections of HIV are beginning to fall, HIV testing rates are decreasing among youth. Nationwide, only 10.2 percent of students had ever been tested for HIV according to the CDC data. During 2005–2015, a significant decrease occurred overall in the prevalence of teens who had ever been tested for HIV (11.9 percent–10.2 percent).
So, what can we do? One conversation at a time, we can encourage conversations about safer sex. We can reduce the stigma around contraceptive use and empower our communities to make well-informed decisions when it comes to sex. We can advocate for high-quality, comprehensive sexuality education. We can tweet HIV testing resources, and encourage our friends to get tested.
Together we can empower, educate, and advocate.
Together We Are One.
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