Source: The Mercury, 4 Feberuary, 1999, p.7
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 said. The report card also found: * More than 4% of Australian women aged 15-19 become preg- nant. * 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 homosexuality. 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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