Many sex-ed programs don’t cover birth control

Associated Press / September 16, 2010

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ATLANTA — Almost all US teens have had formal sex education, but only about two-thirds have been taught about birth control methods, according to a government report released yesterday.

Many teens apparently are not absorbing lessons on birth control. Other recent data show that after years of decline, the teen birth rate rose from 2005 to 2007. It dipped again in 2008, to about 10 percent of all births.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based on face-to-face interviews with nearly 2,800 teenagers in their homes from 2006 through 2008.

About 97 percent of teens said they received formal sex education by the time they were 18. Formal sex education was defined in the report as instruction at a school, church, community center, or other setting teaching them how to say no to sex or about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases.

Government policies mandating abstinence-only sex education were a factor. But in the last two years, most federal funding for sex education has been redirected to programs that discuss birth control as well as the importance of delaying sex, one advocate said.

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