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Editorial
August 1998

Preventing Teen Pregnancy With Emergency ContraceptionAn Opportunity We Should Not Be Missing

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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1998;152(8):725-726. doi:10.1001/archpedi.152.8.725

MANY TEENAGERS in the United States are sexually active. Overall, 53% of a nationally representative sample of high school students participating in the 1995 biennial Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) survey reported a history of sexual intercourse.1 Review of results by grade level shows that among students in grade 9, 37% reported having had sex at least once and 24% reported having had sex within the 3 months preceding the survey. Among students in grade 12, 66% reported having had sex at least once and 50% reported having had sex within the 3 months preceding the survey. Among those currently sexually active, use of condoms or oral contraceptives was low; at last intercourse, 54% reported use of condoms and 17% reported use of birth control pills. Given this information, it should not be surprising that many teenagers have personal experiences with pregnancy. Four percent of students in grade 9 and 10% of students in grade 12 report they have either been pregnant or have been responsible for getting someone pregnant. Results of the 1997 YRBSS will be available later this year, but dramatic changes in findings are unlikely.

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