Source: The Mercury, 4 Feberuary, 1999, p.7

Shock report on teen sex

Health fears
for women

ONE in 10 teens have had 
sexual intercourse before the 
age of 13, says a disturbing 
new national report card on 
teenage sexuality. 
By Year 10 about a quarter of 
students have had sex, with the 
figure climbing to half by the end 
of high school. 
The revelations come as anec- 
dotal evidence suggests older ado- 
lescents are shunning condoms 
provoking fears of a surge in 
sexually transmitted diseases 
which could cause infertility. 
"It's alarming," said Professor 
David Bennett from the New 
South Wales Centre for the Ad- 
vancement of Adolescent Health. 
"The current generation of 
young women is probably the 
most infertile in our history," he 
The report card also found: 
* More than 4% of Australian 
women aged 15-19 become preg- 
* About 40% of teen pregnancies 
are terminated, but more girls are 
keeping their babies and not 
adopting out because they want 
someone to love them. 
* One out of every five women 
aged under 25 have been victims 
of sexual abuse. 
* About a quarter of people with 
HIV are under 25 years. 
* Almost a third of all suicides 
relate to issues surrounding 
Professor Bennett was launch- 
ing the book Unzipped: Every- 
thing Teenagers Want to Know 
About Love, Sex and Each Other 
which highlights the different 
views about sex among teen boys 
and girls. 
Boys are under more pressure 
to "score", but girls are more 
likely to want affection. 
"They are not all just wanting 
get their rocks off," Professor 
Bennett said. 
Teen girls face the added pres- 
sure that if they do "put out" they 
might be called "gluts", but if they 
do not they can be called "frigid". 
The book, in which many young 
people talk frankly about sex 
found the teens want to talk more 
to their parents about sex. 
But many parents do met see 
themselves as a good resource, or 
are embarrassed to talk. 
"The issue keeps being swept 
under the carpet," Professor Ben- 
nett said.

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