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With sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV transmission on the rise in the U.S., the questions remain: Do young people really understand that they are at risk, and are they using condoms to protect themselves?

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that teenagers might be more mature than we give them credit for. Analyzing data from 4,600 teens from across the country between the years of 2006 and 2010, they found:

•    Eight out of 10 teen males used a condom the first time they had sex, an increase of 9 percentage points since 2002. However, Black and Latino males were significantly less likely to have used a condom during their first sexual experience than their white counterparts were.

•    There was an increase in young couples using two forms of birth control — condoms and birth control pill, for example — than before.

•    The number of females aged 15 to 17 reporting sexual experience has dropped by 10 percentage points since 1988, and among males that number has dropped even more.

•    The proportion of teenagers having sex has also remained unchanged in recent years: About 43 percent of females and 42 percent of males reported having had sex at least once.

It’s good to know that young people around the world actually care about their well being an take STIs and HIV serious.

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