Teen contraceptive use is declining, according to a study released last week by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and the Guttmacher Institute. The study (see PDF) found a ten percent drop in teen contraceptive use between 2003 and 2007. Rates of sexual activity among teenagers remain unchanged, and the birth rate has increased by five percent. Black teens demonstrated the most notable drop in contraceptive use.
Laura Lindberg, an author of the study and a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute said, “In the end, this story is really about the loss of momentum”. While acknowledging the small scale of the statistical changes found, she notes that “they raise concern about what the next few years will bring in this country,” reported the Christian Science Monitor.
According to the Daily Women’s Health Policy Report, the findings suggest that abstinence-only education may have contributed to the decrease in teen contraception use. Additionally, the authors of the study suggest that lower concerns about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases have reduced teens’ use of contraception.