JOURNAL ARTICLE

Sexual and reproductive health of persons aged 10-24 years - United States, 2002-2007

Lorrie Gavin, Andrea P MacKay, Kathryn Brown, Sara Harrier, Stephanie J Ventura, Laura Kann, Maria Rangel, Stuart Berman, Patricia Dittus, Nicole Liddon, Lauri Markowitz, Maya Sternberg, Hillard Weinstock, Corinne David-Ferdon, George Ryan
MMWR Surveillance Summaries 2009 July 17, 58 (6): 1-58
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This report presents data for 2002-2007 concerning the sexual and reproductive health of persons aged 10-24 years in the United States. Data were compiled from the National Vital Statistics System and multiple surveys and surveillance systems that monitor sexual and reproductive health outcomes into a single reference report that makes this information more easily accessible to policy makers, researchers, and program providers who are working to improve the reproductive health of young persons in the United States. The report addresses three primary topics: 1) current levels of risk behavior and health outcomes; 2) disparities by sex, age, race/ethnicity, and geographic residence; and 3) trends over time. The data presented in this report indicate that many young persons in the United States engage in sexual risk behavior and experience negative reproductive health outcomes. In 2004, approximately 745,000 pregnancies occurred among U.S. females aged <20 years. In 2006, approximately 22,000 adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 years in 33 states were living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), and approximately 1 million adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 years were reported to have chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis. One-quarter of females aged 15-19 years and 45% of those aged 20-24 years had evidence of infection with human papillomavirus during 2003-2004, and approximately 105,000 females aged 10--24 years visited a hospital emergency department (ED) for a nonfatal sexual assault injury during 2004-2006. Although risks tend to increase with age, persons in the youngest age group (youths aged 10--14 years) also are affected. For example, among persons aged 10-14 years, 16,000 females became pregnant in 2004, nearly 18,000 males and females were reported to have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in 2006, and 27,500 females visited a hospital ED because of a nonfatal sexual assault injury during 2004-2006. Noticeable disparities exist in the sexual and reproductive health of young persons in the United States. For example, pregnancy rates for female Hispanic and non-Hispanic black adolescents aged 15-19 years are much higher (132.8 and 128.0 per 1,000 population) than their non-Hispanic white peers (45.2 per 1,000 population). Non-Hispanic black young persons are more likely to be affected by AIDS: for example, black female adolescents aged 15-19 years were more likely to be living with AIDS (49.6 per 100,000 population) than Hispanic (12.2 per 100,000 population), American Indian/Alaska Native (2.6 per 100,000 population), non-Hispanic white (2.5 per 100,000 population) and Asian/Pacific Islander (1.3 per 100,000 population) adolescents. In 2006, among young persons aged 10-24 years, rates for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were highest among non-Hispanic blacks for all age groups. The southern states tend to have the highest rates of negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes, including early pregnancy and STDs. Although the majority of negative outcomes have been declining for the past decade, the most recent data suggest that progress might be slowing, and certain negative sexual health outcomes are increasing. For example, birth rates among adolescents aged 15-19 years decreased annually during 1991-2005 but increased during 2005-2007, from 40.5 live births per 1,000 females in 2005 to 42.5 in 2007 (preliminary data). The annual rate of AIDS diagnoses reported among males aged 15-19 years has nearly doubled in the past 10 years, from 1.3 cases per 100,000 population in 1997 to 2.5 cases in 2006. Similarly, after decreasing for >20 years, gonorrhea infection rates among adolescents and young adults have leveled off or had modest fluctuations (e.g., rates among males aged 15-19 years ranged from 285.7 cases per 100,000 population in 2002 to 250.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2004 and then increased to 275.4 cases per 100,000 population in 2006), and rates for syphilis have been increasing (e.g., rates among females aged 15-19 years increased from 1.5 cases per 100,000 population in 2004 to 2.2 cases per 100,000 population in 2006) after a significant decrease during 1997-2005.

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