U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Sexual Activity

In 2009, 46.0 percent of high school students reported ever having had sexual intercourse, while the remaining 54.0 percent were abstinent. Overall, 34.2 percent of students reported that they were currently sexually active (had intercourse during the three months preceding the survey): 20.9 percent of students were currently sexually active and used a condom during their last intercourse, while 13.3 percent of students were sexually active and did not use a condom during their last encounter. Sexual activity and condom use vary by race and ethnicity. In 2009, non-Hispanic Black students were most likely to report ever having sexual intercourse (65.2 percent), followed by Hispanic students (46.0 percent). Non-Hispanic White students were most likely to report using a condom during their last sexual encounter (63.3 percent of those currently sexually active), followed by non-Hispanic Black students (62.4 percent; data not shown).

Sexual activity increases with grade level while condom use decreases. In 2009, 49.1 percent of 12th grade students reported being currently sexually active: 27.0 percent of students were sexually active and used a condom during their last intercourse, while 22.1 percent were sexually active and did not use a condom. In contrast, 13.7 percent of 9th grade students were currently sexually active and used a condom during last intercourse, while 7.7 percent of students were sexually active and did not use a condom during their last encounter.

According to the School Health Policies and Programs Study, 58.8 percent of states required middle schools and 58.0 percent of states required high school to teach about pregnancy prevention in 2006. Of all schools, 75.8 percent of middle schools and 86.6 percent of high schools taught abstinence as the most effective method to avoid pregnancy, HIV, and other STDS, while 42.0 percent of middle schools and 65.4 percent of high schools taught about the efficacy of condoms. Only 21.0 percent of middle schools and 38.5 percent of high schools taught students about the correct use of a condom (data not shown).

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